The week began with an unexpected move for a group of non-domestic Kingston residents who were camping behind old beer stores on Bagot and Cataraqui streets.
“We just have to go somewhere to go and hope that doesn’t happen,” says James Shelley.
He and others in his camping community have been staying at the location for almost a week, after being asked to leave a series of other parks and camps.
“We are evicting today because, apparently, the building owners and neighbors wanted us to vacate,” Shelley continues. “The police showed up and they told us very nicely that if we are not vacated in an hour they are going to come and kick us out. And if we don’t go, accuse us a lot.”
Kingston Police say that officers responded to a complaint from a small encampment just after 10 a.m. on Monday, saying, “Upon arrival, the police spoke politely in the presence of several people and asked them to vacate this private property. given the appropriate time.”
Shelley recalled the encounter differently, claiming that the officers were not sympathetic to his situation.
“We asked them where to go and they said they didn’t know,” he says. “And we went to him, and said to him, I said, ‘Well, we have nowhere to go.’ And he says, ‘Well, that’s not my problem.'”
While questions remained about where they would go, Street Outreach was there to provide support.
“Right now people are coming up with a place they want to go and I’m just here to support them and help them collect their stuff and … says Homebase Housing Case Manager Brendan Perry.
City officials say it “continues to work with service providers, community partners and multiple levels of government to increase our affordable and transitional housing supply while increasing shelter and homelessness support.”
By about 2 p.m. the camping community was packed up and the area cleared, to come up with their next steps on the fly.
Now that camping protocol has been restored, it means that any place they choose to visit will remain at risk.
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