Distributed May 9, 2016 11:00 AM
Council responds to removal of homeless camp under Pearson bridge
Last week the Ministry of Transportation undertook slope stabilization work beneath the Pearson Bridge which displaced several individuals who had been camping there since November 2015. The campers were given nearly one month advance notice of the work and, in fact, had vacated the camp with their belongings and moved elsewhere before crews started work on the site. When they vacated the site the campers chose to leave a significant amount of refuse behind and these discarded items were removed by contractors working for the provincial government.
Since 2004, Mayor and Council of the City of Nanaimo have made reducing homelessness a key priority and they continue to work with our community and Provincial partners to address homelessness by the provision of emergency shelter and permanent, supported affordable housing options. Outreach services in the community attempted to offer support in accessing these housing options and other services but these offers were declined by those individuals residing under the bridge.
To learn more about the City of Nanaimo’s Response to Homelessness Action Plan please visit the City website.
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- The Pearson Bridge is under the jurisdiction of the Province of BC. The removal of the camp was due to safety maintenance that needed to be done on the banks around the bridge.
- The City has established three supportive housing facilities for the long term homeless in our community, two affordable housing projects and monthly rental supplements for homeless individuals who do not qualify for Supportive Housing so they can obtain and retain market housing.
- A number of public health and safety concerns arose from the camp.
- On February 9, 2016 Nanaimo conducted its 6th Point in Time homeless count; a total of 174 people self identified as being homeless in Nanaimo.