Advocates call for moratorium on tent evictions in Halifax
As many as 150 people gathered at Halifax City Hall on Saturday calling for a ban on tent evictions for those experiencing homelessness in the city.
"The police are continuing to harass those living in tents, even as there is nowhere else to go," Drew Moore of P.A.D.S. (Permanent, Accessible, Dignified and Safer) Community Network, said in a release.
"Without a clear directive from the city in the form of a bylaw change that decriminalizes living in parks, the city is making a bad situation worse."
Last month the municipality ordered the removal of several temporary shelters, causing tensions among Halifax's ongoing housing crisis to boil over.
As a result, police clashed with protesters, most notably on the grounds of the old Halifax library on Spring Garden Road.
Following the shelter removals, the city paid for a group of people to stay at Dartmouth’s Comfort Hotel. But last week, four people staying at a Dartmouth hotel were asked to leave with less than a day's notice.
"Promises of an immediate, indefinite solution in the form of hotel stays led by the city has failed, shelters are full, and the police continue to evict and harass people facing homelessness throughout the city," reads the release.
"Everywhere except people’s park, where residency has been growing at a rapid rate."
Asaf Rashid, a Halifax lawyer who spoke at Saturday's rally, is calling for an end to forced evictions.
“People residing in homeless encampments and elsewhere have been denied meaningful access to affordable housing and deserve meaningful consultation. Any evictions from any of the encampments should be considered illegal, as people are only there out of necessity during this crisis,” Rashid said in a release.
Rally organizers say community members and neighbours have been coming out in support of people who are unhoused, providing food, hot meals and supplies.
"But with the days stretching into weeks, and winter on the horizon, guaranteed safety and renewed discussions can no longer wait,' says the release.
“This is a complicated situation and finding a solution will take time, but the city has the ability to make a difference today by immediately declaring a moratorium on evictions while a solution is found,” said Moore.