Just as Brantford police officers arrived to execute a trespassing order on private property near Shallow Creek Park Wednesday morning, a fire flared up.
City officials said in a statement the fire was “willfully set … allegedly by one of the occupants” of the camp, who had been given “ample warning” the trespassing order would be executed on Wednesday. People have been living on the site for several months.
Firefighters responded immediately and quickly contained the blaze. The city confirmed there were 12 individuals occupying the site at the time of the fire. There have been no reports of any related injuries. An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway by Branford Fire Department officials.
“The City of Brantford recognizes that homelessness is a complicated issue that demands a community response and, to that end, will diligently continue to work with community agencies, non-profit groups and our network of emergency shelter facilities to provide outreach services to those in need of support services and emergency shelter,” reads the city’s statement.
To ensure emergency shelter is available to those in need throughout the winter months, on Monday, Dec. 2, the city opened a temporary winter emergency shelter at 180 Greenwich St. that will be operational from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. each evening until April 30, 2020.
The temporary winter emergency shelter at 180 Greenwich St. will accept individuals who come directly to the shelter during operating hours, however, the City’s Social Services Support Centre and the Salvation Army are the preferred points of entry to emergency shelter support services and will have the most current and accurate information on bed availability.
If possible, people seeking emergency shelter are asked to contact the Social Services Support Centre directly at 519-756-7009 or visit 220 Colborne St., Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call the Salvation Army at 519-753-4193 after hours.
To learn more about emergency shelter services, please visit the City’s website at brantford.ca/EmergencyShelters.