April 19, 2024

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Folks in an encampment alongside Manning Avenue are being supplied supportive housing via a partnership between the municipality and Wooden Buffalo Wellness Society. The encampment can be dismantled by Aug. 9.

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Encampment residents had been informed in regards to the transfer on July 24. Some residents have discovered housing via 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 complicated challenge in Wooden Buffalo,” reads a press release from the RMWB. “Via interagency collaboration, work is underway to deal with the foundation causes of homelessness within the area and develop long-term options for this weak inhabitants.”

The residents may have entry to group assets, 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 can be lower, and roads can be swept and sprayed.

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Close by enterprise homeowners have complained the encampment is a hazard to residents, prospects, workers and the folks within the encampment itself.

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

At the very least a dozen tents line Manning Avenue outdoors 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, dependancy and psychological well being helps, and policing in downtown.

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Folks collect outdoors tents in an encampment close to the nook of Manning Avenue and Marshall Road in downtown Fort McMurray on July 16, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray At present/Postmedia Community

Some successes, however homelessness nonetheless an issue

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

About half of these surveyed had been males; 44 per cent had been Indigenous; and 43 per cent had 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+ group; 6 per cent got here to Canada as immigrants or refugees.

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

Meals insecurity, hassle discovering secure 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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