Lethbridge camps persist: ‘It’s like a camp’ – Lethbridge | Globalnews.ca

A handful of tents are scattered along the edge of Lethbridge Civic Center Park.

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The Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization (LSCO) building is on the north side of the homeless encampment and this year is the largest gathering CEO Rob Miyashiro has seen in that area.

“When it warmed up, in early spring, we saw some tents go up and it started to build from there as the weather got better,” Miyashiro said. “Literally, it’s like a camp.”

It is not the only camp in the city. Another is located outside the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Center.

On June 1, the city partnered with other organizations to carry out a “compassionate dismantling” of that encampment, but as of Tuesday, tents are seen in the area.

Click to play video: 'Tent camp grows near Lethbridge shelter'

Tent encampment grows near Lethbridge Shelter

Tent Camp Grows Near Lethbridge Shelter – June 15, 2022

Despite the notable presence outside the LSCO, Miyashiro does not hear the same concerns as in previous years.

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“We see fewer people hanging around the front. I know I haven’t had the complaints of people hanging around the parking lot that we had before,” Miyashiro said. “The people who are camping seem to be attached to themselves.”

But he believes it is a problem that requires action.

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“Supportive housing is one thing,” Miyashiro said. “Not just supportive housing, but if we’re going to quickly rehouse people, where are we going to put them? There’s nowhere to put them.”

According to the city, there were 135 campsites in Lethbridge in 2021, an increase of more than 50 percent from the previous year.

On Tuesday, the council introduced a resolution that would direct the administration to report on the current encampment dismantling process and also provide a defense recommendation strategy to the province on affordable housing.

“Options, regulations and resources are needed to effectively remove these settings and a relocation strategy must be developed that accommodates temporary housing on city-owned land where these encampments can be better managed,” said Council Member John Middleton-Hope.

“We need to step up our game because people are hurting,” Councilman Jeff Carlson said. “They are homeless. They need a place, they need security and shelter.”

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The resolution passed unanimously and will also see the administration look at options for bylaw changes to help address the issue.

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