Kingston, Ont. encampment protocol enforcement comes into effect – Kingston


The City of Kingston will enforce its « no camping » by-law starting this week, which means no unhoused campers are allowed to set up in public spaces.

But with local shelters and facilities nearing capacity, where will those campers go?

“It’s really, really hard to be homeless. It’s really hard not having anyone,” said Eli Whitley, who is homeless.

After numerous complaints from residents, Kingston council reinstated its camp protocol last week.

This means that no more homeless people will be allowed to settle in parks or public spaces.

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« At the end of the day, it’s disappointing, » said Gilles Charette, executive director of Trellis HIV and Community Care. “City staff have been working on adding capacity to our system with additional housing options for people. These won’t be ready until late summer and early fall. There is still not enough to meet the needs that exist in the community.

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The city says each person’s relocation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

In a press release, the city says it will provide alternative service options, such as « shelter, access to integrated care center, motel/hotel, apartment, medical services, storage and transportation ».

But the problem with relocating to shelters is that some of them are almost at capacity.

“What we don’t see in our system is a lot of capacity for homeless people who use substances. What we would call supportive housing for harm reduction, there’s not a lot of that in our system,” Charette said.

As for the campers, many of them have nowhere to go.

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Whitley, one of the campers set up around the integrated care center, says he really doesn’t want to leave his space, but will continue to camp if he is kicked out of his area.

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“I’ll go camping somewhere else. They can come find me and start again, and again and again. I’m homeless, so what? Every single person here is homeless, so what,” Whitley said.

Whitney says the constant evictions are hard on the homeless population, who are trying to find some sort of stability while living in their tents.

“You can’t keep throwing us around, we’re not toys. We are people. We are human beings. We’re like everyone else who has a home,” Whitley said.

Enforcement of the no-camping bylaw will begin this week, and once campers are notified of their eviction, they will have six hours to pack their things and find somewhere else to go, wherever that may be.

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