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Abbotsford reviewing after homeless couple’s tent allegedly destroyed by volunteer

WATCH: The City of Abbotsford is on the hot seat again today for the treatment of its homeless population. Elaine Yong explains what happened and the steps being taken to remedy the situation.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says his city is investigating after a homeless couple alleged a city volunteer destroyed their tent in a city park.

“I don’t have all of the facts, but we’re looking into this and taking it seriously,” said Braun at a news conference Wednesday.

Mackenzie Skorepa says that when she and Cody O’Day returned to their tent Sunday afternoon, they found it ransacked.

“It won’t even stand. The mattress is popped, the stove was kicked over,” she said.

There was also a note on the tent, saying they had to leave.

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“Everything had been left in disarray,” said Skorepa. “Had we not been able to contact the Salvation Army, [we] would have stayed out in emergency conditions, with no shelter, no food, and no place to sleep.”

Braun said a city volunteer did post the note on the tent, but claims it happened before the vandalism, which he says was done by someone else. He says the city is updating their training of volunteers and hiring a homeless coordinator.

WATCH: Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun addresses the latest incident involving city’s homeless

“Without volunteers, we couldn’t do a lot of the things that are done,” he said.

“I value our volunteers, but we also have a responsibility to make sure they’re trained and the protocols are up to do date, and in that one area, we failed.”

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This isn’t the first time Abbotsford has dealt with controversy over their handling of homeless issues. In 2013 the city faced legal action for using manure to drive away a homeless camp, to which they later apologized.

READ MORE: Abbotsford apologizes for using manure to drive out homeless

Ward Draper, a pastor who operates an Abbotsford street church, says the city has improved its dealings with the homeless since Bruan was elected last November, but there’s still work to do.

“It’s definitely being handled better, but we still have a long ways to go. There’s still lots of rhetoric about responsibilities that doesn’t really sit well with me, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

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