Homelessness report to be presented to Sudbury city council Monday

Homelessness will be the main topic at a council meeting in Sudbury on Tuesday, when a new report is presented on homeless encampments in the city.

The report by Iain De Jong of OrgCode Consulting aims to develop an encampment strategy and action plan.

De Jong said in the report they had looked for a way to respond in a coordinated and comprehensive manner that respects human beings, culture and diversity, to name a few.

It also examines what the city will have to do in three areas: preparation, mitigation and closure.

It found the number of homeless people increased due to a number of factors in the city, such as the closure of in-person public services, a lack of affordable housing and the opioid crisis.

City staff plan on using the 'Greater Sudbury Encampment Response Guide' to implement a supportive approach to address the issue of the encampments.

Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc has been working to tackle the issue for some time with colleagues downtown. He said there will be a lot to digest when the report is presented to council.

"Mr. De Jong came out with a great report -- it's nothing that council hasn't been aware of," Leduc said.

"The issue is, like everyone keeps saying, housing. I mean we don't have enough affordable housing in Sudbury and then it's the support systems that have to go with the housing."

The councillor said the city has made every effort to try to deal with the influx of homeless people into Greater Sudbury.

He said what's needed is help from the community, help from partnering agencies and, most importantly, more help from other levels of government.

"A lot of people are coming from throughout northeastern Ontario, from southern Ontario, because we are offering better services throughout northern Ontario and people think it's much easier to get housing here," Leduc said.

"It is not. We do not have the housing capacity that we need, so we have to do a lot more and right now my concern is what are we going to do today, OK? I mean it's great to have a long-term plan, but we need to have a solution today."

The report cost the city roughly $21,000. It also comes with OrgCode's continued support for implementation.

Council will officially get the report and hear the presentation Tuesday evening.