Uncertainty for tent city residents
Two Ottawa councillors say the city and all levels of government have “failed” residents of a tent city along with the hundreds of people who sleep outside or in shelters.
On Friday night, residents living in the encampment steps away from Bayview Station say they were told by the National Capital Commission that they had to leave by Monday at 10 a.m. or they would be seen as trespassers.
The NCC says in a statement that "verbal notices asking residents to leave the encampment once they have been provided housing have been issued in cooperation with municipal and community partners on site."
The statement goes on to say "while we recognize the health and safety risks for these residents means the encampment is not a sustainable solution, we want to provide our municipal and community partners the opportunity and time to find housing options. We will not be taking enforcement action related to NCC lands on Monday as has been suggested."
Following a fire last week, Emergency and Protective Services along with Ottawa Police say the site poses a threat to residents and emergency responders.
In a joint statement, councillors Catherine McKenney and Jeff Leiper said “while we do not agree with the removal, it is no longer in our power to stop it.”
Many of the residents who are living there lost their homes due to a rooming house fire in April.
McKenney says all of those who were affected by the fire in April have been offered housing or motel rooms until housing is available. The city is also funding a temporary overflow shelter downtown.
"We recognize that dozens of people not affected by the rooming house fire continue to sleep on the streets and in shelters each night. The residents of the tent city who have not secured housing will have no choice but to either move elsewhere on the streets or go into shelter. Their displacement creates new safety risks for the residents themselves and can only move the issue elsewhere," the statement reads.
More to come…