The City of Vancouver has taken action against a homeless camp on West Hastings Street, saying conditions at the camp pose a danger to everyone there.
12 City workers and police now evicting the tent city at 58 West Hastings, in wake of Homelessness Action Week and during #readdresshousing
— VANDU (@VANDUpeople) October 25, 2016
A release from the City issued Tuesday said the camp, which is on a City-owned vacant lot at 58 West Hastings Street, has been causing concern since it sprung up in July.
“The safety of the campers is a top priority for the City and, working closely with the Vancouver Police Department and Vancouver Fire & Rescue, the City has been monitoring 58 West Hastings on a 24-hour basis,” reads the release.
The City release says there have been 65 calls to police from the camp since it opened, and four assaults reported.
It also says more than 20 emergency calls for service have been made from the camp, with the Fire Chief twice ordering the removal of fire hazards.
“Despite the City, VPD and VF&RS’s efforts, the camp continues to deteriorate, posing significant health and safety risks to everyone on the site,” reads the release. “As a result of this continued deterioration, it has become necessary for the City to take action.”
According to the release, the City has made enough shelter beds available for all those living at the camp and outreach workers will be helping to relocate people who wish to move.
“The City hopes to count on the cooperation of camp residents to ensure that this transition period results in a safe and peaceful resolution,” reads the release.
However, campaigners posting on social media say City workers have been physically evicting residents and photographed a notice of trespass on the property earlier.
The notice advises residents they do not have consent to be on the property or keep tents on it, and prohibits them from continuing to do so.
On Facebook, the Carnegie Community Action Project says nearly 100 people were being moved, as City workers began “confiscating tents and razing the camp in the pouring rain.”
Earlier this year, Mayor Gregor Robertson pledged to build 100% subsidized housing and a health centre on the site of the West Hastings homeless camp in coming years.