Regional Councillor

Brampton Wards 1 & 5

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Regional Councillor Brampton Wards 1 & 5

Encampment Policy Update: Addressing the Chronic Underfunding in Peel

During the Regional Council meeting May 23, the focus was on the critical issues of homelessness and mental health services within our community. Peel is chronically underfunded in these essential areas, and today’s discussions reinforced the urgent need for increased provincial support.

Councillor Santos has been a dedicated voice for prompt solutions to transition individuals in encampments into shelter, emphasizing the significance of upholding public safety and restoring balance in local neighbourhoods. Leveraging her role on FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) to advocate for provincial and federal support following decades of chronic underfunding in the region and city. As an FCM board member, this has been one of her priorities.

The council has requested to move up the deadlines, with staff returning to council in July. As we move forward, we are committed to finalizing and approving the encampment policy and protocols. This is a pivotal step in ensuring that our community can provide dignified and effective support to those experiencing homelessness.

Key delegates, including Angela Carter of the Black Health and Social Services Hub, Arvind Krishendeholl from Indus Community Services, and Sean Meagher of the Metamorphosis Network, provided data on the severe funding gaps impacting our region. Their insights emphasized the necessity for a more equitable distribution of provincial resources to adequately support our growing and diverse population. The presenation can be found here. Full report, here.

Human Services presented an update on the development of the new Homeless Encampment Policy and Joint Protocols. Councillor Santos urged again for immediate priority and focus on transitioning encampments from the concentrated Etobicoke creek area and utilize this learning and experience over the past few months as an example to help expedite the process for a longer term protocol across the region. The policy is part of a broader effort to enhance service delivery, including expanding the shelter system, redesigning outreach programs, integrating health care services for the homeless, and improving access to housing subsidies and supports.

With important push and support from the city, the recent outreach efforts have successfully reduced the number of individuals living in encampments along the Etobicoke Creek Trail. Since May 1, 2024, 28 individuals have been relocated to hotel accommodations, decreasing the encampment population from 38 to approximately 9.

Councillor Santos continues to advocate for action from the Region of Peel to relocate those in the encampments into safer housing such as hotels, and to restore balance in the area for local residents and businesses so that everyone can safely enjoy the green spaces.

We call upon the provincial government to recognize the acute needs of the Peel Region and to provide the necessary funding to support our initiatives. Together, we need to work towards a future where everyone in Peel has access to safe housing and comprehensive support services.

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