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GUNTER: Dismantling homeless camps done thoughtfully, despite public perception – Edmonton Sun

Jan 11, 2024

It’s tough listening to the stories of resident of homeless encampments. The amputations due to frostbite, sepsis and untreated disease. The deaths from exposure and knife fights. The horrible burns from tent fires and propane tank explosions.

We recently carried a story about a woman living in one of our city’s camps who watched, wailing and sobbing, as city workers removed her possessions. To her, they were all she had in life.

All of the residents are human beings who have found themselves on the streets due to fate, trauma, bad choices and addictions.

Dismantling their camps may seem heartless, but camp life is not some natural idyll. Nor is it a permanent solution. As police have pointed out many times, life in the camps can be very dangerous.

Drug gangs force residents to pay protection money to keep their tents and the possessions inside them. Traffickers pay them to stash drugs and guns, then beat them up if those items go missing.

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