FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: P.A.D.S Community Network calls on city to declare a moratorium on evictions
P.A.D.S. Community Network activities occur in Kjipuktuk, which is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral, unceded, and unsurrendered land of the L’nu’k (Mi’kmaq). These lands are covered by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship, which the Mi’kmaq signed with the British Crown in 1752, affirming L’nu’k land title and establishing agreements for what was supposed to be an ongoing peaceful relationship between nations. L’nu’k have had reciprocal relationships with the land since time immemorial – a relationship which continues today. Prior to 1752, there was no homelessness on Mi’kmaw lands. P.A.D.S. Community Network is committing to learning what it means to be Treaty People to do our work in the spirit of peace and friendship. We are grateful for this land, and respect and appreciate the Mi’kmaq who have taken care of it since time immemorial, and continue to do so today.
As the city council meets to discuss its strategy for engaging unhoused community members in the aftermath of last week’s mass evictions, P.A.D.S. Community Network is calling on the city to cease all removals of people living in parks.
“People’s Park,” an encampment for housed and unhoused neighbours, has grown from two to ten unhoused residents in a week and a half as a consequence of the actions of Halifax Regional Municipality, in partnership with Halifax Regional Police.
Yesterday, Councillor Waye Mason published a newsletter admitting that “HRM doesn’t have the staff and structures in place to assure ourselves that housing or hotels were available for the folks.” Further, he stated that, “while this crisis continues and while there are no other reasonable housing options folks want to take, I cannot support further removals of tents.”
Patty Cuttell has also called for a “pause on further action until a better plan can be developed.”
“We have been saying that no housing options were available to most of the folks who were evicted en masse for over a week,” says the P.A.D.S. Community Network. “By continuing to evict people, the city and the police are criminalizing poverty, hurting the vulnerable, and entrenching a state of terror into poor people’s lives. Now that you can admit that people do not have options, can you take the extra step and stop the harm?”
“P.A.D.S. & People’s Park exist as a compassionate response to the violence, criminalization & evictions the city has caused,” says P.A.D.S. “We have welcomed more houseless folks after the police & city evicted more people—despite relying solely on volunteer resources— because people have nowhere else to go. Our resources and capacity are stretched, and the fear of removal amplifies all of these challenges.”
The shelters are full, hotels are increasingly unwilling to shelter unhoused people, and there is no affordable housing available. P.A.D.S. Community Network is committed to the assertion that everyone in our community deserves permanent, accessible, dignified and safer housing. We are willing to work with all stakeholders, including the city, to achieve that goal. If the city council therefore still intends to respond to this crisis with empathy, mass evictions are inexcusable.