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‘That’s just cruel’: P.E.I. advocacy group asks government to abandon plan to vacate homeless encampment



CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — A housing advocacy group is demanding the provincial authorities abandon its plan to vacate unhoused residents from the tent encampment in Charlottetown.

In a Dec. 15 launch, P.E.I. Struggle for Inexpensive Housing (PEIFAH) stated the province’s plan to vacate the encampment following the opening of its new Park Avenue emergency shelters is merciless and requested Minister Matthew MacKay and the Division of Social Improvement and Housing (SD&H) to cease.

On Dec. 12, Shelley Cole, supervisor of housing providers for the Division of Social Improvement and Housing, advised SaltWire Community the province had knowledgeable these on the encampment they would wish to vacate the grounds shortly after the brand new shelters opened, and that “we’re inside per week of that point.”

Cory Pater, a volunteer with PEIFAH, stated the province’s plan goes in opposition to the group’s efforts to struggle the housing disaster, which pushed it to talk out.

“Clearing out a homeless encampment goes fairly instantly in opposition to what our goals are,” he stated. “We wish to guarantee folks have secure and safe locations to dwell. That is the closest factor to security and safety lots of people have, and the province is transferring to clear it out.”

Pater stated the province is putting the brand new shelters as a alternative for the encampment. Nevertheless, he stated for a lot of, the shelters aren’t enough sufficient.

“To start out, there are solely 25 beds open now, and it seems like there are going to be 50 open quickly. That isn’t sufficient for the unhoused group in Charlottetown, as a result of that group is rising with how unaffordable housing is,” he stated.

In a previous interview on Dec. 12, Shelley Cole, manager of housing services for the Department of Social Development and Housing, said those staying at the Charlottetown tent encampment will soon need to vacate the event grounds now that the Park Street shelters are open. - Cody McEachern/SaltWire Network File
In a earlier interview on Dec. 12, Shelley Cole, supervisor of housing providers for the Division of Social Improvement and Housing, stated these staying on the Charlottetown tent encampment will quickly have to vacate the occasion grounds now that the Park Avenue shelters are open. – Cody McEachern/SaltWire Community File

Pater stated the actual fact the shelters are inaccessible 12 hours of the day means unhoused residents can be left to “wander within the wind within the coldest months of winter.”

“It exhibits a sort of merciless uncaringness in direction of individuals who have been put into the worst state of affairs due to the housing disaster,” he stated. “These folks don’t have a lot. What they’ve, they’ve constructed for themselves over there, and we’re transferring to say you may’t come collectively to look out for one another.”

One of many bigger points with the brand new shelters and the helps being supplied by the province is that they appear to have been created with out a lot involvement or perception from the folks the helps are for, stated Pater.

“It sends them the message of take what we’re supplying you with or piss off,” he stated. “These folks weren’t consulted on in the event that they wished their encampment destroyed, they had been notified. They’re not being introduced into the method of looking for options for his or her issues, they’re basically being handled like youngsters.”

Nevertheless, it isn’t recognized what number of of these staying on the encampment had been really notified of the plans to vacate. Throughout a go to to the encampment on Dec. 12, one resident stated that they had no concept they would wish to go away, whereas one other stated that they had solely heard rumours they might be pushed out.

A volunteer who typically visits the encampment, who requested to stay nameless, stated they haven’t seen or heard of anybody from the province visiting the location or informing residents of the plans.

“I’m there nearly every day and have my ear to the bottom as a lot as anybody would, and I haven’t heard something aside from what I noticed (within the information,)” they stated.

One of the two new modular emergency shelters on Park Street saw most of its beds filled during its first weekend of operation since opening on Dec. 9. Each shelter has 25 beds available, and the second shelter was slated to open on Dec. 16. - Logan MacLean/SaltWire Network File
One of many two new modular emergency shelters on Park Avenue noticed most of its beds crammed throughout its first weekend of operation since opening on Dec. 9. Every shelter has 25 beds accessible, and the second shelter was slated to open on Dec. 16. – Logan MacLean/SaltWire Community File

The volunteer stated they’ve been capable of get just a few residents checked into the modular shelters, nevertheless, they stated there are just a few residents who refuse to go away what they’ve created on the encampment. They stated these residents intend to remain whatever the province asking them to go away.

That leaves the volunteer involved about what actions the province might take to have them eliminated, they stated.

“It may get messy, and what occurs then?” they stated.

Each the volunteer and Pater had been unaware of how the province intends to take away the residents from the encampment, what would occur to those that select to remain or when the plan will take impact.

SaltWire Community contacted the Division of Social Improvement and Housing to request data on the plan to vacate the encampment, nevertheless, no response was given.

For the volunteer, they stated they want to see extra residents on the encampment make the most of the brand new shelter providers and depart the encampment behind.

Nevertheless, Pater stated he want to see the federal government depart the encampment alone and as an alternative have interaction with the residents to find out what assist they really need or want.

“Ask them what they want and supply them with shelter and lodging based mostly on what they’re telling you,” he stated.

“There shouldn’t be a state of affairs the place we now have the folks these shelters are made for saying, ‘effectively the shelters are all crap, I’ve been handled like rubbish there earlier than and I’m not even going to attempt it.’”

With no recognized date of when the unhoused residents can be requested to go away, Pater stated now’s the perfect time for civil motion.

“We have to inform the federal government that we’re in opposition to eliminating the encampment, and that we’re ready to protest, rally and do no matter it takes to ensure they hear,” he stated.

“These are people who find themselves a part of our group, who don’t have residences however that doesn’t imply they aren’t our neighbours, who’re being brutalized as a result of they don’t have shelter. That’s simply merciless.”

Cody McEachern is a enterprise reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He will be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @CodyInHiFi

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