The issue of tent encampments in our city has continued to be a hot topic of discussion. Lethbridge City Council voted 7-1 in favour of approving funding for $230,000 to assist in administrative and policing shortfalls to hurry forward with compassionate cleanups of tent sites here in our city. The money will come from the city’s Corporate Budget Contingencies.
“It may seem to many that we’re not being compassionate. But, over the past few weeks I want to just talk to a few different emails that I’ve received. Starting with four tents here a couple days ago, to 12 tents this morning, to over 45 now in one particular area. A shooting in the area, that’s not safe for anyone as these areas aren’t safe for whether you’re homeless or you have a home. Or those that are visiting our community. It’s just not a safe area, it’s been proven. We’ve seen this happen.”
The other clauses in the initial motion Tuesday were part of a unanimous referral to a future Council meeting where more information will be given.
The proposals are as follows:
· City Council allocating up to $470,000 in one-time funding from Corporate Budget Contingencies for administration to move forward with more suitable solutions for encampment concerns that go above just encampment clean-up.
· Creation of a local community task force to gather key partners together for a community view of these complex issues.
· City Council writing a letter to Seniors and Housing, Community and Social Services and Mental Health and Addictions requesting the formation of a provincial/City of Lethbridge working group to allow for collaboration on medium- and long-term housing and homelessness solutions that will ultimately address encampments issues.