6th high-risk Edmonton homeless encampment dismantled near Hope Mission

The City of Edmonton said it closed a 6th high-risk homeless encampment on Saturday. Global News

The City of Edmonton said it has closed the sixth of eight high-risk homeless encampments near 9908 – 106 Ave. Saturday.

A spokesperson with the city said at least 20 structures were removed from the site near the Hope Mission. Ten shopping carts, propane tanks and truckloads of waste were carried away.

At least 50 needles were found at the site.

The spokesperson said 18 people, all believed to be occupants of the site, were connected with social agencies for support.

In a statement, the City of Edmonton said encampments may be assessed as high-risk based on whether “there is a serious risk of injury or death due to fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, drug use, gang violence, physical violence including weapons, public health and/or sanitation risks, environmental degradation and/or criminal activity. It is also assessed based on its proximity to local amenities including schools and playgrounds, the number of people and structures in the encampment, if the location has previously been an encampment site and how long it has been in place.”

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In 2023, the city said Edmonton Fire Rescue Services responded to 135 fires in encampments resulting in 22 injuries and three people have died.

Edmonton police say the camps are very dangerous: not just because of the risk of fires and frostbite or cold exposure, but also because criminal organizations are allegedly infiltrating them, increasing social disorder.

Edmonton Police Service chief Dale McFee and homeless advocates say gangs like Redd Alert and ASAP are taking advantage of the homeless population by making them do things like pay taxes “for protection” and recruiting vulnerable people. Drug dealing and usage is also a big concern.

An emergency court injunction sought by the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights on Dec. 18, 2023, was granted by a judge and briefly postponed the plan.

The injunction was extended until the application for a lawsuit against the city’s encampment response is heard on Jan. 11. But police are still allowed to remove the eight high-risk encampments as long as officers follow provisions that the police, the city and the CJHR agreed on in court.

The clean up was expected to take place into the afternoon.

with files from Karen Bartko

Click to play video: 'Edmonton’s 4th encampment dismantling leaves future of homeless in question'
Edmonton’s 4th encampment dismantling leaves future of homeless in question

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