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Quebec agrees to pause eviction of homeless encampment under Ville-Marie Expressway


The Quebec government has committed to finding housing for more than a dozen homeless people living in an encampment under the Ville-Marie Expressway in Montreal.

Lawyers and the mobile legal clinic were in court on Wednesday to challenge an eviction notice given to the homeless people living in the encampment.

Transport Quebec has said it needs to do repairs and maintenance starting April 1, but before their court appearance, an agreement was reached between the group's lawyers and the provincial legal team.

They two sides have agreed to hold discussions and find solutions to house the people currently living in the camp.

"We're very happy today and made a very important step to recognize their rights and to negotiate and find for them proper housing," said Mobile Legal Clinic executive director Donald Tremblay. "We're not talking about putting these people into shelters."

The Transportation Ministry tried to have the campers evicted in November, but ended up holding off, issuing a new notice earlier this month.

Lawyers requested an injunction to stop the eviction.

Resilience Montreal executive director David Chapman said many of of those living under the overpass have health issues and moving them without much thought could put their lives at risk.

"Today we have a small step forward for human rights," he said in response to the court order. "Hopefully, we have a small step forward for the value of human life."

The agreement could set an important precedent, and Tremblay hopes it will further dialogue at the national assembly on housing rights.

"It does show a first step at what could be done to help these people who are voiceless," he said. "It's very important in that sense it can be used in further actions later on."

Both sides are aiming to finalize the terms of the agreement by the end of the month. If not, they'll be back in court in early April. Top Stories

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