Barbecue held to mark 3rd anniversary of Vancouver’s CRAB Park encampment

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CRAB Park encampment marks 3rd annivesary
As homeless advocates hold a barbeque to celebrate the third anniversary of the controversial CRAB Park encampment in Vancouver, questions remain about why there are still tents in the park – May 20, 2024

Residents and homeless advocates marked the third anniversary of Vancouver’s CRAB Park on Monday.

Homeless advocates held a barbecue to celebrate the anniversary of the controversial encampment, which is the city’s only sanctioned homeless camp.

At one point, more than 100 people lived in the camp, until last month’s clean-up by the Vancouver Park Board, which ordered people who lived outside the court-protected area to leave.

“We have been working diligently to try to build relationships with individuals to get them into housing, and we’ve been fairly successful,” Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon told Global News.

“The last 10 folks that are there, some of them won’t talk to us.”

Kahlon said some of the homeless advocates are helping in building relationships between the residents and the government, while others have not been as helpful.

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The Gastown Residents Association said that since the camp was cleaned up and downsized, it has noticed a decrease in crime in the area and the park has become safer.

Vancouver’s bylaws ban sheltering in parks during daylight hours, but the CRAB Park encampment has been allowed to remain in place with a special exemption since the city’s park board lost a court challenge in 2022.

The city moved in April to clean up the site, citing propane tanks, human waste, hazardous materials and built structures that violated city bylaws and the special exemption.

With the cleanup complete, the city has also limited residency to people who were sheltering in the site ahead of the work.

Kahlon said the province’s goal is to find the barriers that people are facing and then work to accommodate people for appropriate housing.

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“Our goal is to be there to support for housing,” he added.

“We have another 800 supportive housing or SRO-renovated units that are coming online in the coming months, so we do have more spaces available for people, but we know, in summer, it gets hot and many people that have housing come outside as well,” he said. “So we’re trying to address the challenges that we can before the weather starts warming up.”

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