04/26/2016 16:33 EDT | Updated 04/27/2017 01:12 EDT

Victoria's homeless campers prepare to take on government in court battle

VICTORIA — Homeless campers living in tents outside of Victoria's courthouse say they blame British Columbia's provincial government for creating the shanty-town conditions in a downtown neighbourhood.

Together Against Poverty Society spokesman Stephen Portman says more than a decade of inadequate government funding for social programs has forced hundreds of people to live on the streets in Victoria.

Earlier this month, the B.C. Supreme Court refused to grant the government an interim injunction to dismantle the camp, where about 100 people have been living in tents since last spring.

Portman says the society, which speaks for the homeless group, is preparing to make the government's social services policies the highlight of a court case set for September, where the province is applying for a permanent injunction to shut down the camp.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman says the government has provided housing options for 180 people at the camp, but others who may not be homeless continue to live at the site.

Neighbours to the camp say they are living beside an urban ghetto.



The Canadian Press