Homeless encampments are one of the most urgent human rights issues in Canada today. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of shelter spaces decreased, indoor services became unsafe, and people lost their livelihoods and their homes. This led to a rise in homeless encampments across the country. While the conditions in encampments and the criminalization of their residents represent serious human rights violations, encampments can also be understood as a means for residents to claim their right to adequate housing, creating homes as best they can.
To better understand this critical issue, the Office of the Federal Housing Advocate commissioned a series of reports from a research team that included legal experts, university researchers, community organizations, and people with lived expertise of unsheltered homelessness. The research and findings will form the basis for the Advocate’s ongoing work on this issue, and her recommendations to governments.