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Future unclear for 14-year resident of Cambridge encampment asked to leave

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A woman who has been living at an encampment for more than a decade could soon have a roof over her head.

“The one thing I’ll really, really miss is all the nature that’s out here,” said Christine Woodley.

Woodley said she has been living in a tent on a property in Cambridge near Hespeler Road and Highway 401 for the past 14 years, but could soon be moving indoors with her partner Sid and her dog Rosco.

“I know it’s going to take me a while to adjust because I’m so used to being outdoors,” said Woodley.

Woodley said agencies like the Cambridge Food Bank have been helping her find another living arrangement, like at a hotel ahead of an impending eviction.

PROPERTY OWNER REPLIES

TC Energy, the company that owns the property where the encampment is set up, said those living on site are trespassing and were asked to leave by June 2.

With the deadline passed, Woodley is nervous about what’s to come.

“It’s been stressing me out,” she said. “I haven’t been sleeping because I’m worried that they’re going to tear stuff down and force us to leave.”

Woodley estimates another six to eight people live on the property.

"We have been collaborating with the City of Cambridge, Waterloo regional police and local agencies to support the relocation of people,” TC Energy said in a statement.

The company added: “we recognize that homelessness is a significant issue… we’ve committed $10,000 to the local food bank.

DETAILS NOT FINALIZED  

Dianne McLeod, the executive director for the Cambridge Food Bank, said they can’t comment on this particular situation for privacy reasons. But McLeod said the food bank has been “offering street outreach services for those who are unsheltered in Cambridge for more than 15 years. Our role is to connect people to services that will help end their homelessness.”

Regan Brusse, an anti-poverty advocate, hopes that the housing process for Woodley is true to what she wants.

“We have to keep looking, making sure that the choices that are made, and steps forward are suitable to her desires, her choices and they match what herself and her family are looking for,” said Brusse.

Woodley said details about her relocation aren’t finalized.

While she would be grateful for a hotel room, she said a campsite might be better suited for her family so they can continue living among nature.

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