Health-care professionals are calling on the City of Kingston to drop its request for a court order to evict the homeless campers in Belle Park.
According to a local organization, the eviction would worsen the already deadly health risks associated with being unhoused.
Kyle Hanrahan, 27, has lived in Belle Park near the Integrated Care Hub for two years and has weathered multiple trespass notices from the city.
“Imagine you are being housed and someone comes and rips your house out from underneath you and you don’t have anywhere else to stay,” said Hanrahan.
Now, like the rest of the remaining campers, he is facing a possible eviction.
The city is asking for an order from the Ontario Superior Court to remove the encampment.
“We need a water supply. We need food supplies. We just need shelter because if it’s raining or something like that we could get out getting wet, getting sick,” Hanrahan added.
The encampment is in a wooden area of the park, not far from the integrated care hub, where addiction and mental health services are available, including a safe injection site.
Now, the campers are getting some support from local health-care providers who are urging the city to back down from its plan.
The Kingston chapter of the organization Health Providers Against Poverty said an eviction will create a health issue by making support services harder to access.
“We are concerned as evictions pose a severe health risk in the context of the national and municipal overdose crisis from the perspective of heat warnings as recently as last week,” said HPAP Kingston member Abby Christi.
Looking to buy a cottage this summer? Here’s where prices are dropping
Horse euthanized following injury during the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon race
Global News reached out to the city for a response to some of the group’s concerns and received the following statement: “The safety and well-being of all residents, including the campers at the encampment, remains the city’s top priority.”
Lawyers were in a Kingston court Monday arguing both sides before a Superior Court judge, kicking off the injunction process.
HPAP said that rather than spending the money on the legal process it wants the city to use that funding to provide more services to the unhoused community.
“We believe that the decisions are not informed by healthy public policy and that there is a lack of engagement with those who are supposed to be cared for,” said HPAP Kingston member Daria Juudi-Hope.
Court proceedings won’t begin until Oct. 30.
Until then, the threat of eviction continued to hang over Hanrahan and his fellow campers.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.