Aug 13, 2022 22:29 UTC
  •  Homeless population exploding in Canadian cities

Canadian officials have requested the government's help to clean up the cities' neighborhoods where homeless people have set up encampments.

Vancouver's Mayor Kennedy Stewart called for more support from all levels of government to help find safe, adequate housing for the country's homeless people living in tents, makeshift shelters and dilapidated campervans lined on the streets of Canadian cities that are exploding with the population of those seeking shelter.

Speaking with CBC's Gloria Macarenko on Friday morning, the Mayor of Vancouver said that the city has done as much as it can right now to create safe housing and needs a harmonized effort by all government officials at all levels to be able to resolve the problem of relocating the homeless people scattered across the cities in Canada. "Cities on their own can't do this," he said. "We're doing our best on the ground ... but we need record levels of investment."

He said he spoke this week with new British Colombia Housing Minister Murray Rankin about how the city and province can coordinate their approaches to connecting unsheltered residents to housing.

Stewart said he also sought help from the government of Canada, asking for additional urgent housing funding.

“Vancouver has been home to a significant homeless population since starting an official homeless count in 2005 and the pandemic has only made matters worse, requiring all three levels of government to come together to take concerted and sustained actions,” he stated.

In this regard, a former UN special rapporteur on adequate housing said the cities' officials who were forcefully dismantling the encampments set up by homeless people were ignoring the human rights of those experiencing homelessness and were committing a violation of international law.

Leilani Farha, who is a lawyer, tweeted for "the upholding of human rights law and obligations by all orders of government."

"To not criminalize, to not treat as charity cases, the population of people who are unhoused, and rather to treat them as rights holders, to treat them with dignity and respect, to understand that they have and should have a say in what their future looks like," she told local media.

In the meantime, city workers started earlier this week to destroy the shelters, remove the belongings of homeless people, and dismantle the encampment set up along Hastings Street on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.