Protesters call for action and compassion after crews dismantle encampment in Kitchener
Roughly 200 people attended a protest on Sunday at the site of a Kitchener encampment that was dismantled by the Region of Waterloo earlier in the week.
Local outreach groups and community leaders organized the event to have their voices heard.
"Part of what I think we need to do is flip the script on the way we think about encampments, Kitchener-Centre MPP Laura Mae Lindo told CTV News. "Encampments are literally everyday solutions to a huge crisis."
Advocates say five people were displaced, including Laura Edwards’s son who had been at the encampment since September 22nd of this year. The show of support at the protest brought her to tears.
"It is very comforting. It makes me realize I am not alone and that is important," Edwards said. "It is a big struggle. It is a very big struggle and when it's your family it really hits home."
According to Edwards, her son is now housed at A Better Tent City but said more needs to be done to protect those experiencing homelessness.
"Kitchener is really good about feeding people but people need a safe place to sleep," Edwards said. "They need people working to help them with their mental illness or addiction."
Community members went to social media, demanding a review by the region on how the camp was removed. Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic is also looking for answers.
“Out of concern about how the situation was handled, I reached out to the chair and CAO and requested that staff conduct a full review with recommendations about how to better handle these situations in the future," Vrbanovic said in a statement to CTV News.
A release by the region reads in part, they are "...conducting a review on the process to clear an encampment at Charles and Stirling in Kitchener. Over the last week and a half, regional staff worked with community partners to support the individuals in the encampment.”
Lindo said the review process is just a first step.