The remaining occupants at a homeless camp in Hamilton have packed up their tents and moved on – although no one is exactly sure where they went.
“We understand they found housing options elsewhere, and we know they continued to suggest their tent existence was only a temporary move until they could confirm alternate accommodation,” said Clay Adams, spokesman for the City of Richmond.
Early last week, the four individuals still camping on the city-owned land at 23560 Westminster Hwy. left the site where they had been living since last winter.
Soon after the occupants left, the city moved in to begin a clean-up, which included removing garbage, dismantling barricades, trimming bushes and replanting some grass.
The camp had been a source of controversy in the Hamilton neighbourhood, particularly considering there was an elementary school nearby.
Some residents were afraid its occupants would cause a disturbance, but many others were more accepting, according to Adams.
“We appreciate that some residents found the occupants’ presence in the park unsettling. We also know many were less concerned and realized that homelessness is an unfortunate reality of society today,” said Adams.
He added that homelessness is a complex issue that requires an integrated response.
“Staff from various departments will continue to coordinate and follow up on reports of individuals experiencing homelessness to ensure they are connected with services and to minimize impacts to the public,” added Adams.
He also noted that in September, council endorsed a Homelessness Strategy, which includes solutions like providing temporary modular housing and shelter for those in need.