Despite complaints, city eases crackdown on homeless camps amid COVID-19

DM

Though public complaints about homeless encampments are on the rise, city officials say they’re easing off on dismantling such makeshift housing, whose numbers have increased due to the pandemic. Officials with the city and homeless shelters say fears over COVID-19 outbreaks in the facilities have led some potential clients to sleep in outdoor campsites even as temperatures plunge. But while Wall said that in pre-pandemic times city bylaw officers and police would have dismantled those camps on public land, they’ll only do so now if they’re considered a glaring public health risk. “Because of the COVID side — there’s a genuine fear — we’ll leave it alone if it’s complying with (officers’ safety) requests,” said Wall.

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