In August 2021, CUI hosted a CityTalk to consider ways that cities might address the challenge of tent encampments in public and private spaces.
In the year since, Canada’s growing housing crisis has been laid bare as people experiencing homelessness continue to construct ad hoc shelters in parks and other places. Citing worries about safety and sanitation, some cities have chosen to forcibly remove or deter encampment residents from public spaces.
How can municipalities balance their responsibility to steward its parks and civic spaces, manage the social and economic needs of neighbourhoods, and respect the legal and human rights of unhoused individuals?
And as safe, suitable housing remains out of reach for so many urban residents, how can cities respond to the apparent inevitability of encampments?
• Leilani Farha — Global Director, Make the Shift, Ottawa
• Betty Lepps — Director of Urban Relationships, Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation
• Catherine McKenney — City Councillor, Somerset Ward, Ottawa
• Donnie Rosa — General Manager, Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation