Housing advocates say camps still being removed

Despite a court injunction, homeless encampments are still being removed in Edmonton. Advocates are calling for better temporary shelter space.

Advocates for Edmonton’s houseless community say more temporary shelters like these in the city’s north end are needed — as the controversy around the removal of homeless camps continues.

“The court decision earlier this week only applies to the eight locations that were identified in the memo last week. Today and even yesterday there’s people who are camping who are getting no notice and having their shelters torn down,” explained Jim Gurnett, Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness.

Gurnett says homeless camps are being torn down — despite a court injunction earlier this week. Until more long-term, low-income housing space is available, he wants temporary housing similar to Halifax, with government-approved camping areas, with sanitation, and other amenities. 

Or an expansion of a similar program seen here in the City’s Belvedere neighbourhood between the province and the Elizabeth Fry Society — that’s providing these temporary trailer shelters to houseless women.

“I talk to people on the streets here or out in Parkland all the time, and I don’t think any of them would turn down a somewhat nicer, safer, cleaner place to live than what they’re doing now.”

The Elizabeth Fry Society — which helps vulnerable women — told CityNews in a statement its site will have 96 beds, as well as 24-hour security and on-site trauma and educational resources. 

The province added through the same statement that this is a temporary measure and part of the 1,700 shelter spaces they hope to have in Edmonton this year.

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