It’s only a matter of time before winter weather hits a Wetaskiwin camp.
“It is difficult. Here, there are no trees, there is nothing we can take away from,” said Tammy Rowan, who lives in the camp.
For several months, Rowan and a dozen others have been living behind a large store.
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Although living conditions have been difficult, what he fears most is what is coming.
“I’m also afraid of losing limbs because that’s how we lose them is frostbite,” Rowan said.
As time is running out, the city of Wetaskiwin has been busy working on temporary accommodation for the winter months starting in late November.
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Mayor Tyler Gandam said a federal grant of $ 150,000 plus $ 35,000 from the city and possible support from the province will fund temporary shelter services at the site, which is owned by the city.
“The solution for winter is to install warm shelters. We need a warm place for people to sleep, and that has been our priority, ”said Gandam.
The temporary trailers are not designed for day use and will be in service until March.
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Gandam said the city wanted a permanent solution, but it was not possible.
“The city does not have the capacity to provide shelter or 24-hour care as large cities do. We just don’t have that, ”Gandam said.
“The warming units are Band-Aid solutions. These are all just band-aid solutions to a deeper social problem of not being able to help vulnerable people, ”said Hate to Hope Gift of Warmth founder Chevi Rabbitt.
To help, defenders held a clothing drive this weekend, collecting jackets, blankets, food and hygiene supplies.
“We have been able to provide the gift of warmth through a jacket, but that is not enough. There is more support, ”Rabbitt said.
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Rabbitt said that people need permanent transitional housing and comprehensive services.
“People could lose their fingers from the cold. They can die from frostbite. As soon as winter comes, literally people are going to freeze in the field, ”Rabbitt said.
It is a reality of which those who live in the camp are very aware.
“This is all we have to survive if they don’t give us more,” Rowan said.
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