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Court orders Vancouver tent city to pack up and leave

Last Updated Nov 17, 2016 at 10:35 am PDT

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Advocates for the homeless aren't happy with the decision

The city and provincial government are opening winter shelter beds

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC Supreme Court has ordered people living at a tent city on Hastings Street in Vancouver to get out. They have one week to leave. The City of Vancouver had been seeking an injunction.

The tent city is located at 58 W. Hastings and began appearing on a vacant lot at the site back in July.

But not everybody is happy with today’s decision. DJ Larkin with Pivot Legal Society says it’s disappointing. “The city needs to acknowledge that people need somewhere safe to be. You can go around the city right now in the Downtown Eastside and in other neighbourhoods and you will see tents everywhere. People need somewhere safe to be for the winter, it’s about to start raining again and the city needs to make people safe.”

The city had previously offered temporary shelter spaces to the campers, but many say a shelter doesn’t fulfill many of their needs including privacy, the freedom to come and go at will, a sense of community, keeping couples together and living by their own rules.

“What we know here is the city made the conscience decision to say that they decided this was an inappropriate space. They provided no evidence as to why this particular land was inappropriate and as a result they stopped providing the services required to keep it safe,” adds Larkin.

Following the decision, the city says it will help those moved from the site gain access to shelter and housing options. “Ahead of the 6 p.m. November 24th deadline imposed by the court. For the dozen or so campers remaining at 58 West Hastings who wish to move to the shelter spaces now available, City Housing outreach staff will continue to assist with relocation of people and their belongings. The City hopes to count on the cooperation of camp residents to ensure that this transition period results in their safe and orderly department in advance of the Court’s deadline,” the city says in a statement.

The city and the provincial government have announced more winter shelter beds for the upcoming season. The city claims over the past month, over 100 shelter spaces have opened and there are another 92 spaces to be opened over the next couple weeks