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People remain at Charlottetown encampment after opening of emergency shelter

Beds at Charlottetown’s Park Road Emergency Shelter have been open for nearly every week, however dozens of individuals dwelling in a tent encampment in Charlottetown are nonetheless not eager about staying there in a single day.

The province says one other 25 beds are slated to open on Friday, however with the beds solely open in a single day, housing advocates say the emergency shelter does not go far sufficient to assist folks within the metropolis who’re experiencing homelessness.

“The place are they going to go throughout the daytime?” requested Cory Pater, a volunteer with the P.E.I. Struggle for Reasonably priced Housing. 

Pater mentioned he is heard from a number of folks dwelling within the encampment that they do not plan on transferring to the shelters anytime quickly. 

A man stands in front of a homeless encampment, with tents in the background and snow on the ground.
Cory Pater is a volunteer with the P.E.I. Struggle for Reasonably priced Housing, and says telling folks to go away the encampment is unacceptable. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC)

Earlier unhealthy experiences at shelters are a few of the the explanation why so many individuals are leery of heading to the emergency shelter, he mentioned. 

“We have recognized that it is insufficient and that people aren’t going to need to abandon the encampment to only go to the shelter,” he mentioned. 

‘Go away the encampment alone’: Cory Pater

Pater mentioned residents dwelling within the encampment have been notified that the encampment will quickly be cleared out, which he mentioned sends a transparent message to the folks dwelling there. 

“It reveals that they are keen to throw a few of the most susceptible members of our neighborhood out into the chilly. You are telling them you possibly can’t even stick collectively on this, throughout the coldest months of the 12 months.” 

Two single beds side by side with red coverlets with a moose pattern, fleece blankets folded at the bottom, and towels folded on top. There is a window on one wall and a small table between the beds.
The brand new Park Road Emergency Shelter gives laundry amenities, storage, showers and entry to transportation. It is at the moment solely open in a single day. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

With the shelters solely being open in a single day, Pater mentioned leaving the encampment means folks will probably be left to fend for themselves throughout the daytime, which may be harmful within the colder months. 

“Go away the encampment alone, depart them be, let these individuals who have gone via sufficient have what little they’ve made for themselves,” he mentioned. 

New shelters ‘fairly exceptional’: Chris Clay

Chris Clay, Reaching Residence challenge co-ordinator for the Native Council of P.E.I., encourages folks within the encampment to provide the brand new shelters an opportunity. 

Clay mentioned he was skeptical concerning the shelters at first, however after visiting them first-hand, he now thinks they’re a good suggestion. 

“These new shelters that the province have introduced in are fairly exceptional. I have been via them now, I’ve heard from purchasers who’ve stayed in them and I am actually hoping that the folks which are within the tents reap the benefits of what’s being supplied to them,” he mentioned. 

A man wearing a black t-shirt facing the camera.
Chris Clay with the Native Council of P.E.I. says folks ought to give the brand new shelters an opportunity. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC)

Though folks could also be hesitant about making the transfer to the shelters, particularly after having constructed semi-permanent constructions on the encampment, Clay mentioned transferring to the shelters is very essential throughout the chilly climate. 

“I am all the time fearful concerning the folks sleeping outdoors,” he mentioned, including the tough local weather on the Island is a large concern. 

Clay mentioned he’d wish to see extra everlasting housing and extra reasonably priced housing in the long run, however 50 beds is a “actual good step” for proper now. 

Pater mentioned having the shelters open all day, having extra beds, and elevated privateness on the shelter could be a begin. However in the end, it comes all the way down to listening to the considerations of the folks experiencing homelessness. 

“We have to take heed to what their wants are, we will not simply construct options round them with out contemplating what they’re saying.”

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