Dear ECOHH members and friends,
Most of us are involved with ECOHH because we care deeply about the importance of having a home if a person is going to be able to have a decent life.
Over the past few days the news has been full of stories about the plan the City of Edmonton and Edmonton Police Services had to destroy eight campsites this week, where perhaps 300 people found shelter, just days before Christmas.
The plan was disastrous and could very likely have led to unnecessary deaths. It was slowed somewhat by a court decision but there is absolutely no change on the part of the City to continue to take down shelters where people are living informally on the streets or in parkland.
This plan was nothing new-- already this year millions of dollars has been spent to take down more than 1500 such dwellings and push the people away.
But this sort of assault on mostly powerless people goes largely unknown and, since few have really seen what happens, there is little public pressure to stop it, or to develop a better approach.
ECOHH has had enough. We want to make sure as many people as possible know what goes on. We are looking for people to become volunteer scouts, eyes and ears in the community, who will notify us immediately they become aware, from employment at an agency that gets notifications of pending actions, or as they see it happening on the street, of proposed destruction of camp locations.
ECOHH will immediately spread information about the date, time, and location of such actions and urge as many people as possible to attend at the location as non-intervening witnesses to document and tell others about what they see.
If you would be willing to be a scout, please send us a note at email@example.com, so we can stay in touch and ensure you are supported in this task. If you are willing to help but would like to be anonymous, anytime you see City and police personnel arriving at a camp location and giving people notice of an action, you can text 780-218-6989 with the information.
No one feels the current living conditions in most camps are adequate. ECOHH has advocated for many years for the City to fund and oversee proper campsites with at least reasonable security and sanitation and safe heating options and there has never been any interest. Better yet, enough affordable housing, with supports when needed, should be provided.
But for now, at the very least, the dangerous actions that take place against people who are camping are a violation of legal human rights and a traumatic aggression against struggling people and something better needs to be done.
Please let us know soon if you can help, because there is no plan to stop the destruction of camp sites.
Here is a link to a news story about the court action today: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/judge-allows-but-slows-down-edmonton-homeless-camp-removals-1.7062623.
Thank you. Homes for all!