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Region won't appeal judge's decision on Victoria St. encampment

A ruling by Judge Michael J. Valente that stated residents of the encampment at 100 Victoria St. N can't be evicted will not be appealed by the region
The Victoria encampment the morning of June 6, 2022.

The Region of Waterloo has announced it will not appeal a Jan. 27 verdict by Judge Michael J. Valente that determined the region's position to remove residents from the encampment at 100 Victoria St. N was in direct violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The region instead will focus on supporting those who are experiencing homelessness in the community, bolstered by a $163 million investment to housing and homelessness that was approved as part of the $1.9 billion operating and capital budget for 2023, it said in a news release Thursday.

While praising the region’s efforts to combat homelessness, Valente said at the time of the ruling that their efforts to evict the residents from the encampment “deprives the homeless residents of the encampment of life, liberty and security of the person in a manner not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

The court document went on to say that not enough effort had been made to contact members of the encampment and they had fallen short of the principles and policies stipulated in their own encampment policy.

Helping to end chronic homelessness and accelerating new affordable housing units are key priorities the region said in a press release.

“The Interim Housing Strategy is an important part of the region’s plan to help end chronic homelessness, with the opening of the first outdoor shelter at Region-owned property on Erbs Road as an important step forward,” the release said.

“When this shelter opens, it will provide a greater range of accessible options for individuals experiencing homelessness. The Region of Waterloo values its work with organizations and partners throughout the community to help support people experiencing homelessness and connect them with social, community, and housing services to meet their needs.”

Aside from 100 Victoria St. N, there are two other encampments in the region located at at 150 Main St. in Cambridge and on Roos Island in Victoria Park in Kitchener.