One day after the third of what police say are eight “high-risk” homeless encampments in Edmonton was dismantled, the city and police are set to remove another camp just northeast of the downtown core.
The Edmonton Police Service said work to dismantle an encampment in the area of 105th Avenue and 96th Street was set to begin Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, crews worked to remove an encampment at the ravine at Dawson Park.
Police Chief Dale McFee and other officials in the city have described many of Edmonton’s homeless camps as dangerous places because of concerns regarding fires, health, drugs and crime.
In 2023, the city said Edmonton Fire Rescue Services responded to 135 fires in encampments resulting in 22 injuries and three deaths.
Late last year, police identified eight “high-risk encampments for removal, but an emergency court injunction sought by the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights on Dec. 18, 2023, was granted by a judge and briefly postponed the plan.
While the injunction has been extended until the application for a lawsuit against the city’s encampment response is heard on Jan. 11, a judge ruled that the city and police are still allowed to remove high-risk encampments as long as a number of conditions are met, including that officials ensure there is enough shelter space available to accommodate those being forced to leave.
On Tuesday, the city said more than 200 spaces remain available at Edmonton shelter locations.
According to Homeward Trust Edmonton, there were 3,043 people experiencing homelessness as of Dec. 16, 2023.
Of those, 670 are homeless with nowhere to go, 1,743 are provisionally accommodated and 534 are staying in overnight shelters.
More to come…
–with files from Global News’ Karen Bartko and Emily Mertz
&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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