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Vancouver city council to address Strathcona Park encampment at special meeting

Last Updated Sep 11, 2020 at 9:59 am PDT

FILE - Tents at Stathcona Park (Kareem Gouda, NEWS 1130 Photo)

A special council meeting is being held Friday to discuss the ongoing concerns around Strathcona Park

Staff will be directed to investigate options to help the homeless around Vancouver

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The homeless encampment in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park will have the full attention of the mayor and city councillors on Friday.

A special meeting of has been called for this afternoon to address the situation, which continues to create tension around the area.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart outlined a motion on Tuesday directing staff to investigate the feasibility of the city purchasing housing units, creating a sanctioned tent city, or temporarily converting buildings into emergency housing or shelter space.

Strathcona Park special council meeting

Preliminary figures from the 2020 regional homeless count show 547 people living unsheltered in Vancouver, including 300 at the encampment in Strathcona Park.

“It’s clear that we are approaching a tipping point, not just in Strathcona, but in terms of how we support all of our marginalized neighbours,” Stewart said in a release earlier this week, adding he’s spent the summer talking to community members, business owners, advocates, and health care experts to discuss the issue.

“…and it’s clear to me that once the summer is behind us, we will be in a dangerous place between the start of wet and cold weather and a vaccine yet to be available,” he said.

Staff would be expected to report back on the best option by Oct. 2.

The meeting begins at 1:00 p.m.

-With files from Martin MacMahon and Mike Hall