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Homelessness and Encampments on City Property

There has been a visible increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness and homeless encampments in Richmond Hill, Oak Ridges and across the province. Ontario is facing a homelessness crisis caused by desperate situations, including a lack of affordable housing, economic inequality, inadequate shelter alternatives and significant gaps in mental health and addiction care.

The courts have ruled that municipalities cannot “evict” encampment residents. Click here to view the court case that concludes that municipal by-laws prohibiting encampments could be unconstitutional if there are not appropriate shelter alternatives available.

Richmond Hill will continue to align its work with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) statement on human rights and encampments and shelter closings, which supports a rights-based approach to addressing encampments in collaboration with York Region’s Outreach Team and York Regional Police.

Residents who observe individuals experiencing homelessness can:

  • email York Region’s Outreach Team at outreach@York.ca or

  • call the Street Outreach Van at 1-866-553-4053

    • 7 days a week from 2 pm to 9 pm

    • Criminal activity should be reported to YRP

Outreach workers will attend and try to assist the individuals in relocating to better accommodation options. If the individuals do not agree to leave there is not much that can be done.

Your patience and compassion is encouraged as the City works collaboratively with York Region Public Health, Homelessness Community Programs, York Region Paramedics, and York Regional Police to respond to issues and concerns associated with encampments.


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