Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise.
Some councillors say that the plan to remove street encampments had nothing to do with the city’s homelessness strategy. There was no discussion that the city should become “homeless first.”
“It all started with the mayor, who was trying to get rid of street encampments, and then he hired a private security company to do it, supposedly, so that other people would do it,” Councillor Jan Harder said.
“I see a real disconnect between what the mayor is saying and the homelessness strategy document. The homelessness strategy document states we need to get rid of encampments, to get people off the streets and get them into supportive housing. He does not seem to be on the same page.”
Harder said she was “surprised” that the city would contract with a private security company to clear the streets, and she questioned the motives of the private company.
“I’m asking: why is the city employing security guards to tell people how to conduct themselves on the streets of the city?” Harder said.
“The mayor has said the city won’t clear the city (of street campers). When you hire people to do anything, what is the incentive to get the job done? That would all be a waste of money if the mayor is not on board, and I’m not sure he is.”
Cody Allan (Ward 2, Parkdale-High Park) said he did not know if the contract with the security company involved homeless services, and he questioned what the city wanted.
“I didn’t know anything about this,” he told council. “I would be surprised if (the contract) had anything to do with homelessness services.”
Council also voted to table a motion that was designed to stop any further homeless encamp