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Tents at Grand Parade Photo: Megan St. Rose

‘Can’t force people out’ says councillor on tent evictions

By Caitlin Snow Feb 27, 2024 | 12:39 PM

The eviction deadline has now come and gone for the tent encampments in Halifax and several tents remain.

Councillor Pam Lovelace says, despite this, the municipality can’t force people out, if they are not able to get into the better options available.

“We need the Department of Community Services, income assistance, social services…to be able to provide individuals with customized support.  We can’t drag people out of their tents, if there is nowhere for them to go.”

She adds that she is not in favour of criminalizing homelessness due to the various reasons why people are on the streets and it’s important that each person has a case file and support systems to get them into housing.

However, there is a lot of paperwork involved, and Lovelace says that is something that should be worried about later, to get people into housing, now.

“Late on Friday at the encampment at Grand Parade…I was very sad to see… that there were people who were packed and ready to go because they had been offered housing..but their paperwork hadn’t been completed, so they couldn’t go into housing.”

Over the next few days, Lovelace says there should be provincial staff meeting with HRM staff, along with various service providers as well as the opening of pallet shelters.

HRM gave notice February 7 to those living rough at five out of 11 tent encampments around the city including Grand Parade and Victoria Park, to vacate by February 26th-that better options exist.

The city says safety is a significant concern for those living in tents, as well as health risks and being targets for predatory behavior.