Why tent cities are becoming more permanent

By Analysis by The Big Story Podcast

In today’s The Big Story podcast, they’re in every city and town in Canada—visible evidence of overlapping crises and a lack of resources to help people in need. In the past, most governments and police have dealt with encampments by tearing them down and moving their residents on. But recently courts have become more inclined to grant government injunctions against tent cities, in some cases even requiring governments to provide working bathrooms or water.

Stepan Wood, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Peter A. Allard School of Law, thinks more courts will refuse to let cities destroy encampments.

“Starting only around 2015, the courts started to recognize that … the continual displacement of unhoused people through, you know, the eviction of tent cities causes really immense harm to the people who are being continually sort of pushed from one place to another,” he says.

That leaves most communities and governments with one of two options. Find resources to safely house their most vulnerable residents. Or accept that tent cities are here to stay – in public parks and spaces.

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