Canada News

Get the latest new in Candada


Homeless camp near Deerfoot Trail dismantled over safety concerns

Calgary Police Service members returned to a southeast encampment this week as workers removed the tents, tarps and personal effects of those who have made the spot their temporary home.

An unconfirmed number of people have been living in a treed area stretching from 46th Avenue to Glenmore Trail, along the west side of Deerfoot Trail, but police say they know the campers and frequently check in on them.

“It’s Donnie over here, it’s Serge over in the corner, it’s Barry … it’s Kim over in the front,” said acting Sgt. Robert Gray. “We’re all on a first-name basis. We’ve been here for an entire year just meeting with them, speaking with them, offering all of the resources we have to try and help them get into housing, help them locate jobs — if they’re able to work, if they’re willing to work. Find out what they (have) for skills, what they do for trades.”

Story continues below advertisement

A resident of the encampment, who identified himself to Global News as Joe Able, says he’s lived there off-and-on for nearly five years and agreed that the time was right for the removal of the camp given the questionable actions of some of  his fellow campers.

“I see it happening now and I just shake my head,” said Able. “Wow, man, these guys get away with a lot of stuff.

More on Calgary

“I feel bad, that’s why I don’t want to say anything. I don’t want to yell at them because they agree. You can’t have this, this is bad.”

Alpha House representatives, medical staff with the police and crisis team (PACT), conservation officers, bylaw officers and disposal services staff have all been on hand since the dismantling, deemed Operation Encampment, began Monday.

“Where possible, Alpha House’s Outreach teams work to reduce displacement for individuals who rough sleep as we know this is the best way to ensure we can maintain connection with these clients and continue to provide support towards housing and stability,” explained Alpha House officials in a statement to Global News.  “However, we do recognize that large encampments, often referred to as tent-cities, can be unsafe for both the individuals in the camps and for the community as a whole and sometimes cleanups are needed. Ultimately, a spectrum of supportive and affordable housing options is required for long-term solutions to encampments in the city.”

Story continues below advertisement

CPS Chief Mark Neufeld took to social media to voice his concerns with the camps and explain the rationale for their removal.

“We can’t allow encampments to become entrenched in Calgary,” Neufeld said in a post to X, formerly known as Twitter. “Health and safety concerns, refuse, violence, criminality, as well as stolen property, are issues that quickly arise when you don’t address them early.

“Often those sleeping rough are in desperate need of support and intervention.”

Story continues below advertisement

This is not the first time police have cracked down on the camps on the provincially owned stretch of land.

In the spring, CPS, bylaw and social service agencies dismantled an encampment at the same location over several days. Officers seized stolen goods and weapons. At the time, several of the displaced told Global News that they had been staying in the camp for roughly a year. One man indicated his plans to return to the spot as soon as police left.

&© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

View original article here Source