Sunday , 29 January 2023
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Jason Farr responds to critics on encampment crisis

Ward Two Councillor Jason Farr has been getting it from all sides on the issue of homeless encampments in the downtown core and adjacent neighborhoods. The camps are a shocking reminder of an aspect of our society that has been with us for many decades, one that does not yield to easy solutions. Many of those “sleeping rough” suffer from addictions and mental health issues that render them unwilling to enter shelters. Some of those who are temporarily housed in shelters are unable, due to these personal issues, to adhere to the rules imposed by shelter operators and they find themselves quickly back on the street. In some cases the shelters are seen as unsafe places where theft and violence occur. It took COVID 19 to bring the longstanding issue into the open with the closure of malls, libraries and other public spaces, where homeless could shelter for a while at least and have access to restrooms. The Councillor has been inundated with emails from groups urging that the camps be allowed to continue in some cases with no rules and from citizens who want the eyesores removed from downtown. Farr responded in detail to a recent open letter from one of the groups supporting encampments. We reproduce it in full. The comments from supporters of Hamilton Community Legal Clinic and Keeping Six Hamilton are in black type and the Councillor’s responses in blue:

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