Crackdown in the core is wrong approach, say poverty advocates

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By Samantha Craggs

Decision-makers hoping to stop loitering downtown risk criminalizing the poor and marginal, say social advocates.

They say broader community solutions are needed, not a crackdown that excludes certain kinds of people from public spaces.

 The city’s task force for cleanliness and security in the downtown is looking at a three-year pilot project that would dedicate a bylaw enforcement officer and police officer to the area around Gore Park, similar to a program in Barrie.

 But if people are loitering, it means there aren’t enough viable spaces for them to gather, said Renee Wetselaar, a social planner specializing in affordable housing with the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton.

 “If we push them to the margins, it’s still not going to address the issue around why is it people have nowhere else to go,” she said.

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Article and image source: CBC Hamilton

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