City politicians look at extending pilot project to help the homeless

City politicians will look at extending a pilot project that allowed for a more compassionate response to homeless people in the city.

The pilot project was launched last year, which saw officials taking a more compassionate approach when dealing with groups of people living in London’s downtown and Old East Village.

Jim Yanchula, manager of downtown projects, said the 90-day pilot project saw the breakup of 94 urban camps.

“Over the course of 2018, we continued to see unpredictable, disruptive, some times violent behaviours, largely due to people using non-prescription substances,” said Yanchula, adding that this sometimes resulted in damage to public and private property.

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Close to 2,000 needles and 84 bins of garbage were removed from urban camps between September and December 2018.

Yanchula says through the pilot project they were able to help 13 people find housing.

“A call to London Police might not be the solution in a certain situation. A call to a homeless care provider or a mental health and addictions specialists would be,” Yanchula said.

“By dealing with it in that manner, we’re able to focus on the individual, and when we help the individual we help everybody.

A report will go before the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee on Monday, with staff recommending extending the project from April 1 until the end of this year.

The cost of the extension would be $1.25 million, which will be funded from a reserve fund.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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