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Large Cambridge encampment cleared


A large encampment that once occupied part of the parking lot at 150 Main Street in Cambridge is gone.

The site in downtown Galt on Region of Waterloo property was home to up to 50 people at one point, but had dwindled to fewer than 10 by the end of last week, according to the region.

cambridge encampment


The Region of Waterloo says it closed the unsanctioned site after the remaining people living there were offered housing alternatives and agreed to leave.

“This involves having one on one personal relationships with people who are choosing to live in the encampment, which is we what we've been doing for over a year,” Region of Waterloo commissioner of community service Peter Sweeney said.

He said the unsanctioned encampment was closed on Aug. 24.

The region says the remaining 10 or so residents agreed to leave the property, with many of them accepting an alternative housing offer like a hotel or shelter.

Cambridge encampment



Nicole Burnett lives near the site and often volunteers to help people camping there. She was surprised to see the area fenced off.

“We were wondering, where have they gone? Where are they staying? Have they taken them? How did they legally have them removed?”

She says for people trying to help, the centralized location on Main Street was ideal.

“We want to go out and help them, but now we have to drive around and in forests or maybe places that we're not really comfortable going where,” she added.

She says many of those who were living at the encampment are already back on the streets. Some living in remote and isolated areas.

“We could come to one location, and they knew that we were coming what time we were coming. You know, now, they can't find us. We can't find them. We don't know where they.”

Burnett says it’s difficult looking at all the open space around 150 Main Street.

“It kind of upsets me like they're willing to put condos or housing for other people here. But, we're in a pandemic where people can't afford housing, and there's land there to provide for them, and the offices would be right next door,” Burnett added.

Meanwhile, the region recognizes that some people have returned to living rough.

“It's not lost to me that some of the people who were living there took us up on offers of housing and others did not and left by their own volition and likely have chosen or will choose to, again to continue to live outside and as long as that exists in our community, we're not winning anything,” Sweeny said.

Sweeny says this involves having one-on-one personal relationships with people who are choosing to live in the encampment, which is what we at the region has been doing for over a year.

“We just need to be ready and responsive and do our best to meet people where they're at,” he said. Top Stories

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