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RMWB dismantling downtown encampment, residents provided housing helps

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Individuals in an encampment alongside Manning Avenue are being provided supportive housing by means of a partnership between the municipality and Wooden Buffalo Wellness Society. The encampment shall be dismantled by Aug. 9.

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Encampment residents have been informed in regards to the transfer on July 24. Some residents have discovered housing by means of the consumption course of. Others will get bridge-accommodations till everlasting housing choices open within the fall.

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Homelessness is an ongoing and sophisticated situation in Wooden Buffalo,” reads an announcement from the RMWB. “By interagency collaboration, work is underway to handle the foundation causes of homelessness within the area and develop long-term options for this susceptible inhabitants.”

The residents may have entry to neighborhood sources, together with workers to assist with psychological well being and addictions issues. As soon as the encampment is cleared, municipal workers will take away particles and rubbish. Grass shall be minimize, and roads shall be swept and sprayed.

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Close by enterprise house owners have complained the encampment is a hazard to residents, clients, workers and the folks within the encampment itself.

Enterprise house owners have reported witnessing folks on the encampment get in fights, abuse medication and alcohol, publicly urinate and defecate, gentle fires, and wrestle with psychological well being points. It’s widespread to seek out needles scattered all through the realm. 

At the least a dozen tents line Manning Avenue exterior the Centre of Hope. A letter from 18 native companies argues permitting homelessness to unfold hurts financial hopes for downtown improvement. One other letter from the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce requires extra outreach companies, habit and psychological well being helps, and policing in downtown.

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Individuals collect exterior tents in an encampment close to the nook of Manning Avenue and Marshall Avenue in downtown Fort McMurray on July 16, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Immediately/Postmedia Community

Some successes, however homelessness nonetheless an issue

The newest municipal rely discovered 162 homeless folks in Fort McMurray final September. Abuse, monetary issues, addictions, well being points and unsafe housing have been all cited as causes for homelessness.

About half of these surveyed have been males; 44 per cent have been Indigenous; and 43 per cent have been between the ages of 25 and 44; 40 per cent got here to the area to seek out work or due to a job; 7 per cent recognized as members of the 2SLGBTQ+ neighborhood; 6 per cent got here to Canada as immigrants or refugees.

The best rely was 549 folks in 2008. Whereas homelessness stays an issue, the 10-Yr-Plan to Finish Homelessness adopted by council in 2010 minimize the variety of folks within the area who have been homeless.

Meals insecurity, bother discovering steady housing, and restricted entry to well being care, addictions assist and psychological well being companies are nonetheless cited by native non-profits as issues for Fort McMurray and close by rural and Indigenous communities.

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