The City of Victoria has announced that all-day camping will be allowed to continue beyond May 1 for individuals who have accepted and are awaiting indoor spaces.
A closed meeting report released by the City reveals a strategy for bylaw enforcement that will support the transition of moving people experiencing homelessness from outdoor parks to indoor spaces.
Anyone who has accepted an offer and is preparing to move from parks will not be required to pack up on a daily basis.
The City says bylaw officers will allow time for moving into transitional housing locations while assisting with downsizing belongings.
“Once someone makes the decision to move inside, we want to do everything we can to support them in that transition and on their pathway to permanent housing,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “That includes taking a compassionate, tailored approach to bylaw enforcement until their new homes are ready to move into.”
Anyone who has yet to accept an offer to move indoors, or decides not to accept an offer, will be required to take, down, pack up and remove belongings from parks during the day under new regulations. These regulations, which ban daytime camping in Victoria parks, will become effective May 1. This means that camping will not be allowed between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. Any tent or property unlawfully left in place after 7 a.m. will be subject to impound and can be retrieved through Bylaw Services.
Helps says that Council is hoping to see the people currently living outside to take the transitional housing opportunities that are offered.
“Staff have put together a thoughtful, graduated approach to bylaw enforcement that recognizes individual needs while ensuring that the bylaw prohibiting daytime sheltering is enforced. Council supports this direction.”
City Council has approved the enforcement strategy and authorized the City Manager and City Solicitor to proceed with a court injunction to enforce the Parks Regulation Bylaw should voluntary compliance not be achieved.
People sheltering outdoors will begin moving into transitional housing in Vic West starting the first week of May and at the Tiny Homes Village near Royal Athletic Park the following week, according to the City. Together, these locations will house approximately 100 individuals.
Victoria adds that since February, 114 people have moved inside from parks and other outdoor areas.