Issued July 29, 2022
This morning we met with representatives of the #TheForgotten519. We share their concerns for the vulnerable people in London and agree that we, like many cities, are at a crisis point. We also appreciate that conversations throughout the week have created an even greater awareness of just how difficult these times are for people who are experiencing homelessness, addictions or mental health challenges. We grieve as well whenever a person passes away at the hands of poverty, addiction, or inadequate housing support.
These are complex social issues. Solutions, whether they are focused on the immediate term or the long term, will only come through cooperation and collaboration among all of the agencies working to support members of our community who are in crisis. As a community, we are doing everything we can to support people today and to help move them towards supportive and permanent housing in the future. And we are continually looking for additional ways to work together with community agencies to enhance supports and respond to emerging needs. That work never stops.
To be clear, the City currently does permit safe encampments. Through the Coordinated Informed Response (CIR) program, we are currently monitoring close to 350 active encampments. In July, there were only four notices for removal were posted, two of which were on private property and one was on a public sidewalk. Our approach to encampments continues to be on a case by case basis. When the CIR team visits an encampment, the primary concern is health and safety always, for the individuals at the encampment as well as in the surrounding areas. The approach has not been to displace and tear down encampments. It begins with outreach and supports.
We are concerned about the demands and believe that the actions they have outlined will put the health and safety of London’s most vulnerable people at greater risk. Our commitment has and will continue to be to support and provide services to individuals experiencing homelessness, addictions, and mental health challenges, and to continually explore collaborative, meaningful and effective ways to do more to support those people in our community who are most vulnerable, in the immediate and in the short term.