Monday, May 28, 2007

Edmonton's Army of Homeless

The skyrocketing rents in Edmonton have increased pressures on limited social housing and shelter spaces. This has made Edmonton's homeless problem worse. A lack of a home often means a lack of safety, and so it isn't uncommon for homeless people to sleep close together. This gives rise to tent cities and squats, such as what had sprung up behind the Bissell Centre (a centre servicing low income people in the inner city).

Tue, May 22, 2007
Squatters Say They're Staying:
Officers told more than a dozen people camping in at least six tents in a field behind the Bissell Centre yesterday morning that they're going to have to move.

But most of the tent dwellers are refusing to budge, claiming they have nowhere else to go.

Sat, May 26, 2007
The poor need a tent city

Almost every night, dozens of homeless people - some of whom have day jobs - gather to sleep on the grass there in Edmonton's inner city. Some put up tents to keep the night chill at bay.

Yet, most nights, city police evict the hapless homeless, forcing them to go someplace else.

Bissell Centre spokesman Ele Gibson is ticked off. "Where are they supposed to go?" asks Gibson, who's the resource development director for the inner-city charity that provides everything from a drop-in centre to family services for the poor.
There's lots of talk from our politicians about affordable housing and homelessness. But the problem persists.

If these people can't stay on this particular patch of land, surely to God someone could find a small slab of public land somewhere where the homeless can have a simple tent over their heads. Other cities have set up safe tent cities. Is that too much to ask, given there's no affordable housing for them?

Mon, May 28, 2007
Homeless gathering an army of supporters for rally
Homeless Edmontonians are taking their plight to the steps of the legislature.

Those recently evicted from provincial land behind the Bissell Centre and others who will be evicted from winter shelters at the end of the month plan to rally on June 27.

These people were sleeping on public land, and it is immoral to force people into dangerous situations just so you don't have to see them. Not to mention: being too poor to have a home isn't illegal. So, I say good for them. We need some proper squatter's rights. The bullies in the provincial government will never do anything for the people unless they are forced.


TomCat said...

Shameful. Just like the US. Here in Portland, the city is gradually relocating homeless services to the east side to get them away from downtown.

Anonymous said...

Reminds of this old quote: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."