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Guelph seeking private property donation for temporary encampment

A tent seen outside of Guelph City Hall on Oct. 19. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener) A tent seen outside of Guelph City Hall on Oct. 19. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

Guelph is taking an unusual step in its efforts to address the homelessness crisis.

The city has put out a call for private property donations which may be used for a temporary structured encampment.

In February, using his strong mayor powers, Mayor Cam Guthrie directed staff to identify real estate opportunities which could be transformed into housing. That request included both city-owned and private properties, along with additional information on costs, funding, supports and logistics.

"Water, bathrooms, waste pickup, things like that I think we would all wrap ourselves around to try to provide for people that are experiencing homelessness," Guthrie explained in an interview with CTV News in February. "The other thing I'm looking at is actually utilizing units like tiny homes."

The city is calling on property owners to identify sites suitable for a temporary structured encampment for, potentially, a three-year period.

“While properties within one kilometre of the downtown core are preferred, all submissions will be considered,” the city said in a media release.

"We're doing our own examination of lands and available locations within our purview, but we're also saying: 'Hey, does anyone else in the community want to try and help with this?'" Guthrie explained on Wednesday. "You know, often I've said that government alone cannot solve this issue. We need a whole community approach, so by asking the community if there is availability of land that could be used... it brings everyone together to try and solve this problem of homelessness."

Property owners interested in participating in the encampment initiative are asked to email the city with their name, contact information and suggested location by April 26, but submissions will also be accepted after this date.

The city also said staff will present their report to council later this spring. Top Stories

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