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With shelters full, homeless encampments growing in Greater Sudbury

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Officials in Sudbury say homeless shelters are at capacity and the number of people living in encampments is growing.

As more tents and temporary shelters pop up, the city says its staff and partners are working to help people living outdoors while following the Greater Sudbury Encampment Response Guide.

Luc Rioux, who is now homeless, said he was a truck driver until he hurt his back. He has been homeless for eight months now and said he lives on $800 a month on ODSP.

“The stress is just so much, then you find places to sleep outside, you make a little camp the next day you gotta’ move,” Rioux said.

“They come and tell you (that) you gotta’ move.”

City officials said there are 152 people living outdoors in 34 locations in the city and the number is increasing.

“In general people are allowed to remain in an encamped area on public property if they are not close to a school a daycare a playground (and) they are not in an unsafe situation,” said Gail Spencer, the manager of housing stability and homelessness for the City of Greater Sudbury.

“However if they are in any of those locations we do ask them to relocate.”

The city said outreach and navigation workers regularly visit encampment sites.

“We have community outreach teams that are working 16 hours a day every day of the week that go out to encampments that talk to people make sure that they are OK,” Spencer said.

“(W ask whether) they are able to meet their basic needs, that they know where services are and that we can try to support them to go through to the steps they need to get back get into housing.”

Spencer said there are currently 73 overnight shelter beds in the city which are at capacity. Right now, there are 240 actively homeless people on the city’s by-name list awaiting housing.

“We know that that 75 per cent of those have been in Sudbury for over five years,” Spencer said.

“So by far the majority of people experiencing homelessness in our community are from our community. This time of year we do see inflow and outflow in terms of people travelling moving around.”

She said on occasion, the city will provide garbage pick up at encampments as part of a community effort to help people keep their areas clean.

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