Rough sleeper camp that was cleaned up south of Red Deer in 2015 (Advocate file photo).

More homeless camps discovered in Red Deer parks this spring

Anyone who comes across one is asked to report it

As the weather warms, more homeless camps are being discovered in Red Deer’s wooded parks system.

About 85 “rough sleeper camps” have been cleaned up by the city on the first five months of the year, while 64 camps were previously cleaned up from September to November, said acting city manager Lisa Perkins.

The main difference is spring camps are mostly “active,” with campers still using them. The fall camps have been found mostly abandoned, perhaps because of the colder weather coming.

In case city residents stumble upon a makeshift camp in the woods, Perkins wants to make the public aware of the municipal policy in addressing them.

She said the city’s goal is to close the camps and clean up the area, to keep the public safe and enjoying the park system, while also providing rough campers with some better and safer housing options.

“Our strategy is to ensure the safety of all,” said Perkins, who noted many city departments are involved in a collaborative approach. This includes social planning, municipal policing, and the parks department.

The City of Red Deer will spend $500,000 cleaning up dozens of homeless camps over the next two years. During budget talks, city council approved spending $300,000 this year and another $200,000 in 2019 tackling the growing numbers of homeless camps spread throughout the city.

Citizens who find camps are asked to contact the RCMP’s non-emergency line (403-343-5575), or the city’s bylaws complaint line to make a report. A municipal enforcement officer will be sent out to the site.

Related:

Camp clean-up approved in city budget

If campers are found there, the camp’s location will be provided to a social support and housing outreach team, who will refer them to appropriate housing services.

There will be a 24-hour eviction notice served, and parks workers will then clean up the camp, including any debris found in the area.

Perkins acknowledged there are some homeless people who prefer sleeping outdoors to sleeping in shelters. But this is neither a safe, nor an environmental option, so the city will keep encouraging them to seek more appropriate housing.

Perkins said statistics will be gathered this year to determine how effective the city’s approach is to closing rough sleeper camps.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rebels drop home opener to Oil Kings

The Edmonton Oil Kings were simply better than the Red Deer Rebels… Continue reading

RDC Kings topple Medicine Hat College Rattlers

Kings Matheus Alves scores twice in the win

Grassroots movement to clean up Red Deer is gaining momentum

Homeless people need more attention than shopping carts, says former councillor Cindy Jefferies

Improving life for people with Alzheimer’s and their families is a priority for Raitt

The federal Conservatives deputy leader is dealing with the disease in her own home

PHOTO: International Peace Day

Visitors broke bread, made crafts and trading cards at a gathering marking… Continue reading

RDC Kings topple Medicine Hat College Rattlers

Kings Matheus Alves scores twice in the win

Saskatchewan RCMP charge man in abduction that sparked Amber Alert last Sunday

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — Saskatchewan RCMP have arrested a man following an… Continue reading

One dead following police-involved shooting in Burlington, Ont.

BURLINGTON, Ont. — Ontario’s police watchdog says a 32-year-old man was shot… Continue reading

Several injured as Tornado tears through Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

OTTAWA — A tornado ripped through the Ottawa area Friday afternoon, damaging… Continue reading

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

VANCOUVER — Clearing or burning beetle ravaged forests may be costly but… Continue reading

Dustin Byfuglien scores in overtime, Jets beat Flames 4-3 in pre-season

WINNIPEG — Bryan Little tied the game late in the third and… Continue reading

Mistrial denied in Calgary murder trial over jury’s visit to hotel Denny’s

CALGARY — A Calgary judge has denied a request for a mistrial… Continue reading

Former Canadian astronaut says space shuttle is a vehicle of hope

OTTAWA — Sending messages of hope from space is a big part… Continue reading

Canada requests trade panel on uncoated groundwood paper ruling by U.S.

OTTAWA — Canada has requested a NAFTA trade panel review a U.S.… Continue reading

Most Read