Region tackling topic of homelessness and encampments in Oakville, Burlington, Milton


Published November 21, 2023 at 11:28 am

encampments canada
InTheHammer file photo

Homelessness and encampments continue to rise in Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills, so Halton Region has updated its plan to deal with the issue.

A report from the Department of Social and Community Services is being delivered to regional council at tomorrow’s meeting (Nov. 22).

In addition to defining who’s responsible for dealing with encampments, the report also highlights several steps taking to assist those residing outside or living in encampments.

Among the services offered are:

  • Increasing emergency shelter capacity and accessibility for individuals, single women, couples and families
  • Continuing to make available temporary boarding for pets and funding transportation needs
  • Increasing Halton Housing Help Street Outreach capacity – this team meets individuals wherever they reside and makes active offers of support that individuals may voluntarily choose to accept
  • Increasing staff and partner agency expertise in working with individuals with mental health and addictions challenges

“Enforcement mechanisms vary depending on who owns the property where the encampment is located,” reads the report.

“Private landowners initiate enforcement through the Halton Regional Police Service. Local municipal staff assume this responsibility on municipally owned property. Halton Region assumes this responsibility on Region-owned property.”

The report recognizes that there are several factors contributing to the homelessness issue.

“Homelessness and encampments are a by-product of a number of intersecting issues, including income insecurity, vacancy rates, housing costs, and mental health and addictions challenges, notably opioid misuse. The lack of available specialized supportive housing for individuals with complex mental health and addictions is also a key driver of encampments.”

Staff said the CSWB Action Table on encampments will continue to meet regularly and they continue to monitor and adapt to the evolving legal framework around the topic.

Residents can read the full report here.

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