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

More than a dozen Nova Scotia organizations have signed a letter that works with non-domesticated people and other marginalized groups, before asking the municipal government to bring in police to evict residents of a park in Halifax. Asked to consider other options.

The letter listed a number of recommendations for “alternative routes to proceed in the peaceful relocation of persons taking refuge in Meagher Park”.

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Meagher Park, also known as People’s Park, is located on Chebucto Road. Homeless people have been living there since the police-led camps were evicted in August 2021.

Earlier in the week, the city made an official request to the police to try and enforce a blank order at the site.

This summer, councilors designated four municipal park sites where those without housing could set up tents, but also said those in Meagher Park would have to leave by July 17.

Although the deadline has passed, the municipality has said that there are only about four or five residents left with the protesters.

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Halifax Police Called to Enforce Evacuation Order at Meagher Park

The letter from the organisations, issued late Friday evening, said that the police should not be involved in relocating people living in Meagher Park.

“We call on the city to call on the police to stand up and call for service providers and the community of support to be wrapped around Meagher Park for seven days to implement this option,” the letter said.

“We strongly believe that those currently sheltered in the Park need to be meaningfully involved in the selection of a new site and given viable options for rehabilitation that address their health, safety concerns and respect at the Centre. keep.”

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It said their recommendations are communicated by residents of the park, the homeless service area, and representatives of the Halifax Mutual Aid and Pads Community Advocacy Network.

Homeless people should be included in decisions: letter

The letter was signed by a total of 14 organizations: PADS Community Advocacy Network, Mutual Aid Halifax, AdSam for Women and Children, Coverdale Coursework Society, North End Community Health Center, Welcome Housing and Support Services, Out of the Cold Community Association, 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 should offer whatever units or places they have at their disposal to shelter any person in the park – if this is where the person wants to go, if it is the agency’s mandate. and if it is culturally safe and appropriate.

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In June, municipal councilors unanimously approved four designated greenspaces where people could tent – ​​sites that were chosen in consultation with those without housing. There are many vacancies on those sites.

The letter from the organizations states that there is a need to involve the homeless in these decisions.

“In the absence of being able to provide people what they really want, which is safe and affordable housing, a new site location needs to be determined by consultation and with the consent of the affected individuals and their community of support,” Said it. , adding that the city should also work with them in a “collaborative manner” to determine an approved relocation site.

The letter states that whatever site is earmarked, it should be equipped with running water, garbage collection, bathrooms and storage of their belongings.

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

The letter states that any site for non-domestic people to live in would need to “allow for the creation of adequate food storage, preparation and food waste disposal to increase access to food and reduce the presence of rodents.” “

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Also, existing Tyvek shelters must be relocated to the new site with the consent of the residents, until they can be replaced with safe and winter shelters for long-term planning.

The new site should also be revitalized to form a council or advice of the people living there “to increase the security and cleanliness of the site, to give them a certain level of autonomy and self-governance.”

The organizations 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 rehabilitate and permanently close the park at the same time. Happens in

“Where a new camp is based, non-domesticians must have valid input,” said the Out of Cold Community Association, one of the organizations that signed the letter, in a tweet.

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“It is absurd to discuss whether those directly affected should have a choice about where they will live in a tent.”

As of August 2, 643 people in the Halifax area were currently experiencing homelessness, according to the latest figures from the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia.

According to a staff report from June, there are only 200 shelter beds in the Halifax area – more than 400 less than what is needed.

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

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“Municipal staff will review the request and respond in the coming days. As always, the 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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