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Waterloo Region beefs up security, provides porta-potties for homeless encampment in Kitchener

The homeless encampment at Victoria and Weber streets in Kitchener. Kevin Nielsen / Global News

Waterloo Region has installed portable washrooms and extra security at the homeless encampment that has been erected in downtown Kitchener.

The region was already providing some security and paying for access to the washrooms at the St. John’s Kitchen located across the road from the Victoria Street encampment.

Read more: Video shows police response to gun call at Kitchener homeless encampment

“The needs of the site at 100 Victoria have changed since the original decision was made in April to provide after-hours washroom access at St. John’s Kitchen,” stated Peter Sweeney, commissioner of community services.

“In order to ensure the health and well-being of those on the site and in the surrounding area, portable washrooms were delivered to the site (Thursday) morning.”

Sweeney said that with the addition of the porta-potties, access to the washrooms at the soup kitchen has come to an end.

He said the region is beefing up security at the site as there have been issues reported at nearby businesses.

“In response to ongoing concerns and incidents reported from neighbouring businesses and residents and in order to facilitate the safe provision of portable washrooms at the site, the Region will implement security staffing on a 24-hour, seven days a week basis,” Sweeney said.

Read more: Homeless encampment in Kitchener allowed to stay — for now

The region is going through the court system as it is looking to evict those residing at the homeless encampment.

The encampment initially began in January but quickly spread to include more than 50 tents by May.

The number of tents has decreased slightly since the region served notice of eviction at the beginning of June.

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