NS organizations offer alternatives to police-led Meagher Park eviction – Halifax

More than a dozen Nova Scotia organizations that work with aboriginal people and other marginalized groups have signed a letter asking the government to stop evicting residents of a park in Halifax. So consider other options before bringing the police.

The letter contains a number of recommendations for “an alternative route for the peaceful evacuation of those taking refuge in Meagher Park”.

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Meagher Park, also known as People’s Park, is located on Chibokto Road. Displaced people have been living there since a police-led eviction from the camp in August 2021.

Earlier in the week, the city made a formal request to police to enforce an evacuation order at the site.

This summer, councilors designated four municipal park sites where non-residents could set up tents, but also said those living in Meagher Park would have until July 17 to leave.

Although the deadline has passed, the municipality has said that four or five residents remain with the protesters.

Read more:

Halifax police were called to Meagher Park to enforce an evacuation order

The organizations’ letter, released late on Friday evening, said the police should not be involved in moving people living in Meagher Park.

“We ask the city to ask the police to step down and give service providers and the support community surrounding the Meagher Park encampment seven days to implement this alternative,” the letter said. ” said the letter.

“We strongly believe that people currently sheltering in the park need to be meaningfully involved in choosing a new location and that they need to be provided with viable alternatives to relocation that protect their health, safety and well-being. concerns and dignity at the center.”

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It said their recommendations are informed by people living in the park, the homeless service sector, and representatives from Halifax Mutual Aid and the PADS Community Advocacy Network.

Homeless people must be included in decisions: letter

A total of 14 organizations signed the letter: PADS Community Advocacy Network, Mutual Aid Halifax, Aidsom for Women and Children, Cordell Courtwork Society, North End Community Health Centre, Welcome Housing and Support Services, Cold Community Association Out of, Stepping Stone. Association, Elizabeth Fry Society, United Way Halifax, YWCA Halifax, Avalon Sexual Assault Center, Brunswick Street Mission and POSSE

The letter states that service providers must offer whatever units or spaces they have available to shelter any person in the park — if that’s where the person wants to go, if It is consistent with the agency’s mandate, and if it is culturally safe and appropriate. .

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In June, municipal councilors unanimously approved four designated green spaces where people could set up tents — sites chosen without consulting non-residents. There are many vacancies on these sites.

The organizations’ letter states that non-homeless people need to be included in these decisions.

“In the absence of being able to provide people with what they truly want, which is safe and affordable housing, a new site must be determined in consultation and with the people affected and the community that supports them. It needs to be done with consent.” He added that the city should also work with them in a “collaborative manner” to determine an acceptable site.

The letter states that whatever space is designated, it must be equipped with running water, garbage collection, bathrooms and storage for their belongings.

Read more:

Food security structures for non-natives, considered a security risk by HRM, were dismantled overnight.

The municipality has complained of rodent problems in Meagher Park, however, with no place for residents to safely store their food. In February, the municipality sent crews to tear down a wooden structure used for food storage in the park, deeming it a “safety hazard.”

The letter states that any non-residential facility will be required to allow adequate food storage, preparation and disposal of food waste to “increase access to food and reduce the presence of rodents.” can be reduced.”

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Also, existing Tyvek shelters should be relocated with the consent of the residents, unless they are replaced by safe and winter shelters for long-term planning.

The new site should also be resourced to create a council or advisory of the people living there “to give them a certain level of autonomy and autonomy, to enhance the safety and cleanliness of the site.”

The organizations also called for more resources and services for youth and those in need of culturally appropriate services, and for the city to work with service providers to permanently relocate the park and The closing process will take place at the same time.

“Non-residents must have legitimate information where a new camp is located,” Out of the Cold Community Association, one of the organizations that signed the letter, said in a tweet.

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“It is unreasonable to discuss whether or not the people directly affected can choose where they live in the tent.”

According to the latest data from the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, 643 people are currently experiencing homelessness in the Halifax area as of Aug. 2.

The Halifax area has only about 200 shelter beds — more than 400 short of what’s needed, according to a June staff report.

In a statement, HRM spokesman Ryan Nearing said the municipality is “aware of yesterday’s letter from various service providers who are assisting the homeless.

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“Municipal staff will review the request and respond in the coming days. As always, Halifax Regional Police will respond to public safety issues,” he said.

“There will be no further comment on this matter at this time.”

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