City releases Encampment Strategy update

We are now into the third month of the city’s Encampment Strategy and officials say the latest stats show since June 19th, there have been 384 calls made to the city relating to encampment issues including needle debris, biohazard debris and encampments. Of the 384 calls, 105 were made specially about encampments around the city. Matthew Pitcher, Housing Solutions Coordinator with the City of Lethbridge says a big change compared to last is there has been a significant decrease in the number of entrenched encampments.  

I think what we saw last year is a prime example of that. So I think last year, primarily at the Civic Centre out behind City Hall here, we saw encampments that had multiple structures, multiple people. And with that co-location and general entrenchment, there’s often greater risk factors. They stay in one place longer, they accumulate more debris, those types of things. What we’re seeing now is much more mobile, like I mentioned before. So fewer items, fewer people, which ultimately leads to fewer predatory instances. Those types of things.”

A member with the Lethbridge Police Service says they have been seeing a lot more compliance from individuals when it comes to the entrenched encampments.   

We do see a few that pop up overnight and then they will take them down first thing in the morning when the sun’s coming up, even before we’ll receive calls for service about them. And that’s been a growing trend with that less entrenchment. Those people who are truly trying to just live in a safe manner. More of our entrenched. Encampments do include a lot more violence, drug use, weapons. So we are seeing less of that. Less violence, less weapons.”

The city’s full Encampment Strategy and response process can be found on their website.  


Angela Stewart

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