Personalized Bylaw Enforcement Strategy Supports People Moving Inside

Council has released a closed meeting report containing a strategy for enforcement of prohibited daytime sheltering as of May 1. The report received last Thursday outlines an individualized approach to support people who have accepted indoor spaces.

“Once someone makes the decision to move inside, we want to do everything we can to support them in that transition and on their pathway to permanent housing,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “That includes taking a compassionate, tailored approach to bylaw enforcement until their new homes are ready to move into.”

People who accept an offer and are preparing to move from parks will not be required to pack up daily. Bylaw officers will allow time for moving into the transitional housing locations and will assist with downsizing belongings. When indoor spaces are ready, Bylaw and outreach workers will assist people with packing their items in totes and helping people move.

“Sheltering in parks is a humanitarian crisis. Council would like to see the people currently living outside take the indoor transitional housing opportunities they are offered,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “Staff have put together a thoughtful, graduated approach to bylaw enforcement that recognizes individual needs while ensuring that the bylaw prohibiting daytime sheltering is enforced. Council supports this direction.”

Effective May 1, people who do not accept an offer will be required to take down, pack up and remove their tent and belongings daily by 7 a.m. Any tent or property unlawfully left in place after 7 a.m. will be subject to impound and can be retrieved through Bylaw Services.

Council has approved the enforcement strategy and authorized the City Manager and City Solicitor to proceed with a court injunction to enforce the Parks Regulation Bylaw should voluntary compliance not be achieved. This provides the City with flexibility to respond to evolving situations quickly and effectively.

People sheltering outdoors will begin moving into transitional housing in Vic West starting the first week of May and at the Tiny Homes Village near Royal Athletic Park the following week. Together these sites will house about 100 people. BC Housing will be offering people a spot in either location this week.  

The City is working in partnership with the Province and BC Housing to deliver more than 220 transitional housing spaces for people currently living outside and to accompany them on a pathway to permanent stable housing. Since February, 114 people have moved inside from parks and other outdoor areas.

The report can be found in the Rise and Report section on the Thursday, April 22 Council agenda.