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Tent city moved as city presses for long term solution

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The City of Grande Prairie is temporarily moving those tenting outside of Rotary House. As of September 3rd, Housing and Homelessness Initiatives Supervisor Katherine Schmidt says tents are being dismantled and the people living there will have three options.

“Some of them will be redirected to appropriate housing options, some of them will be redirected to the existing shelter beds, and some of them are going to be redirected to a temporary transition site with their camps and tents.”

The temporary site is located between Rotary House and City Hall and should remain there until at least October 2nd. Schmidt says the new location will feature 24-hour staff on-site, fencing, lighting, washrooms, and a number of rules residents will need to follow, just like if they were in an actual shelter.

“They like the fact it’s going to be supervised, they like the fact there is going to be staff there, so for a lot of the individuals [it’s] very positive. We anticipate there may be a few that are resistant or don’t want to move into the temporary site for various reasons; maybe they don’t like the rules of the guidelines.”

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Schmidt adds that while a number of people have already moved locations, those unwilling to do so will be dealt with by bylaw officers.

“They will be given a 24-hour notice that they need to dismantle and move their sites. That 24-hour notice will probably happen sometime [Tuesday] evening, and they will have that 24-hour notice for tomorrow to have their tent sites dismantled and moved.”

The Saint Lawrence Centre will reopen its day programing at Rotary House on September 4th. Schmidt says the City is hoping to have a more permanent solution in place by the fall.

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