The rise in unsheltered homelessness during COVID-19 continues to highlight ongoing systemic health, social and economic inequities and remains an ongoing concern for the City.
Encampments are locations where one or more people live in an unsheltered area setup either on private or public property. Encampments may appear as a single tent, or a group of tents.
The City of Hamilton remains committed to ensuring that people experiencing homelessness receive the support they need while at the same time ensuring public spaces remain safe and accessible to all residents.
The City’s approved Encampment Response Protocol outlines an approach for how staff of the City’s Encampment Task Force and homeless-serving partners work to engage those residing in encampments and help them transition to safer, more humane, and legal accommodations. An encampment site is only scheduled to be cleared once everyone at that location has been assessed, once everyone has been offered safe, indoor space; and notice has been provided to give people time and help to collect personal belongings.
Guiding Principles and Approach
An assessment of the individual health and social needs of those living in an encampment, and the specific location of the encampment informs the individual response. The outreach that occurs during a 14 day period* will provide supports including but not limited to the following:
- Engagement that treats every individual from a rights-based approach, ensuring dignity and confidentiality is maintained;
- An assessment of health and social needs of individual with consent;
- Immediate work on a personalized housing plan with consent;
- Determine previous (if any) barriers affecting access into the system and attempt to resolve them;
- Informing individuals of the timeline for encampment removal taking into consideration location and individual health and social circumstances;
- Assist with the movement to shelter/housing including but not limited to transportation, financial assistance, and storage of possessions.
- Ensures abandoned belongings and litter are cleared and the site is cleaned.
While outreach staff work to engage encampment residents and secure alternative shelter and housing options and community supports, Municipal Law Enforcement, and Parks staff will continue to monitor these locations and address safety concerns and increase litter clean up during this period until the encampment is cleared.
City of Hamilton Encampment Response Task Force
The City’s Encampment Task Force works with encampment residents to help them transition to safer, more humane, and legal accommodations, support the move with their belongings, and then ensures abandoned belongings are cleared and the site is cleaned.
The Task Force includes representatives from the City of Hamilton Housing Services Division and Street Outreach Team, Municipal Law Enforcement, Public Works and Hamilton Police Services Social Navigator Program.
Staff follow the protocol approved by Council September 30. 2020 that outlines the protocol when addressing reported encampments.
General questions about encampments and the City and partners process and protocol Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Report any immediate threats to the safety and well-being of any community member, including loss of consciousness, frostbite, heat stroke, substance poisoning, or harassment by calling 9-1-1.
Email [email protected]
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