Across parks in downtown Toronto notices were posted threatening to criminalize individuals who sought safety, community, and shelter in the encampments in Toronto Parks. These threats went in direct contrast to public health recommendations to not displace individuals in encampments during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the third wave upon us and significant shelter outbreaks. Furthermore, these threats represent attempts to make homelessness invisible, not strategies to meaningful support our fellow community members living in encampments.
Health Providers Against Poverty wrote an open letter denouncing the encampment evictions that was signed by 330 health providers and also hosted a demonstration at City Hall on Monday April 5th to call for a moratorium on encampment evictions.
We will continue to stand by our fellow community members in encampments and hope that our city will focus on efforts to support encampment residents not criminalize them.
Media on this issue:
Op ed written by HPAP’s Dr. Adriana Di Stefano and Dr. Drew Silverthorn: No job, no home, no bed in shelters facing COVID-19 outbreaks. Instead of protection, the City of Toronto is evicting encampment residents from parks
Morning Show Radio Interview with Dr. Adriana Di Stefano: Where can Toronto’s homeless go when affordable housing isn’t available to them?