Homeless people who were sleeping under the Adelaide Street bridge over York Street have been driven out as city hall takes the unusual step of hiring security guards to keep people away from the overpass.

Despite a housing crunch that’s pushing more Londoners onto the street, into shelters, and onto a years-long waiting list for public housing, city officials say the new approach is necessary because of safety concerns and damage caused by the people staying under the bridge.

“There was a need to keep people away from that (spot) until we find a longer-term solution,” city hall’s manager of homeless prevention Craig Cooper said, acknowledging it’s one of the more “extreme responses.”

Rising rents are driving tenants with low or fixed income into “deep poverty,” says one London housing advocate.

Two-thirds, or 67 per cent of low-income Londoners spend more than half their income just to keep a roof over their head and the heat and electricity on, according to the Canadian Rental Housing Index, a database that compiles rental housing statistics across Canada.

So why are people still not getting housed? Is it a failure of people experiencing homelessness? Is it a failure of housing programs? Or is something else going on?

Bruce Wallace, Bernie Pauly, Kathleen Perkin, and Geoff Cross of the Canadian Institute of Substance Use Research in Victoria, BC in reviewing a modestly sized transitional housing program have stumbled upon answers to these much broader questions.

Their data points to three strong conclusions:

1. Failure to obtain housing is not the fault of individual program participants.

2. Failure to obtain housing is not the fault of the program.

3. Failure to obtain housing is due to system-level forces that create and sustain poverty and inequities.

A Hamilton anti-poverty advocate calls the Ford government’s elimination of a child benefit “absolutely cruel” amid a city report showing 1,800 children receive it.

The Transition Child Benefit currently provides refugee-claimant families and low-income families who are unable to access Ontario or Canada child benefits with a maximum of $230 per child per month. The Ford government announced in April it will eliminate the benefit as of November 1, leaving vulnerable families worried about their future, advocates fuming and municipalities scrambling to make up the loss.

A recent city of Hamilton report states 1,800 children in Hamilton receive the benefit, paid out by the province. About 40 per cent of cases involve refugee claimants and 87 per cent of cases involve children under the age of three.

“It’s absolutely cruel because they are punishing the most vulnerable children in society,” said Tom Cooper, director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, calling the province’s decision “nonsensical” and “beyond the pale.”

The site of a tent-city in Maple Ridge is uninhabited for the first time in over two years.

The city is applauding the fact that the remaining residents of Anita Place have been relocated to a temporary modular housing project that opened Tuesday and looking forward to proceeding with plans for a park.

Meanwhile, an advocate says the clearing of the camp is actually a setback for people experiencing homelessness in the area.

Ivan Drury with Alliance Against Displacement says while Anita Place existed, people had a relatively safe, warm and dry option.

“Instead of that they’re now scattered out into the bushes in the surrounding area, or stuck sleeping in the alleys or doorways of the city of Maple Ridge,” he says.

It’s 9 a.m. in Cabot Square in downtown Montreal and a small group of women admit they aren’t sober.

“I used to be down and in a bad way, like struggling with alcohol and drugs, and right now I’m trying to go up,” said Kennie.

Normally, the women would have found a place to stay at the Open Door day shelter nearby. It was one of the few wet shelters in the city that accepted intoxicated people.

However, the shelter moved last year to Parc Avenue in the Plateau-Mont-Royal — and now some of the homeless people in the area say they have nowhere to go.

Richmond council passed the city’s first homelessness strategy in 17 years, but not without public criticism and last-minute wordsmithing.

De Whalen with the Richmond Poverty Reduction Committee addressed council on Monday before the strategy was debated by council. She focused her criticism on four areas: seniors, outreach work, faith communities and the involvement of people with lived experience.

Whalen advocated drawing on the experiences of those who have been homeless, adding that it can’t be assumed that service providers have this expertise.

“People with lived experience are the experts in their own lives and should sit at tables making decisions about them,” she told council. “Unless they are included, these folks will continue to say ‘nothing about us without us.’”

She also pointed out seniors are the fastest growing demographic group falling into homelessness and that faith communities should be invited to advise on prevention and solutions to homelessness.