Two of the most visible homeless enclaves in Abbotsford were tidied up to a degree this past Saturday, as city workers, service providers and homeless residents gathered to remove garbage, but not displace the residents.
The Gladys Avenue sites, including one across from the Salvation Army, and the teepee camp a few hundred metres farther west, were targeted to “help the folks who are in the camp to better health and wellness,” according to Salvation Army spokesperson Deb Lowell.
The effort was initiated by the Salvation Army and the 5 and 2 Ministries, with help from CP Rail and BC Hydro. Dozens of bags of trash were collected and trucked away.
It certainly doesn’t bring a long-awaited close to these unsightly camps, but it was a commendable initiative by the agencies and the city, and something that will help build better relations with the homeless and, hopefully, a long-term solution.
But what’s irresponsible in the extreme is members of the public dropping off items such as refrigerators and sofas at homeless camps, according to reports from their occupants.
While it is conceivable the people dropping off couches thought they were doing a good deed, clearly they didn’t think about furniture sitting in the rain, becoming just more trash.
It’s beyond any logic to regard a fridge being deposited at a homeless camp as anything other than illegal dumping.
This city already has a problem in that regard – to the tune of $50,000 spent in 2013 to pick up other people’s messes left on roadsides, especially in rural areas.
The homeless have enough issues of their own – don’t add to them with your junk.