NEWS
10/25/2016 16:02 EDT | Updated 10/26/2017 01:12 EDT

Critics call for more social housing as Vancouver set to dismantle homeless camp

VANCOUVER — The City of Vancouver says outreach workers are helping about two dozen people move into a shelter after the homeless camp they were staying at was deemed unsafe.

City spokesman Tobin Postma says the camp where up to 70 tents were erected in July will be dismantled over the next few days as residents are transferred to a Salvation Army shelter a few blocks away.

Postma says people will be provided with a mat to sleep on, but anyone who wants to move to another shelter on Nov. 1 would have a bed.

A release from the city says that since the camp started last summer, over 65 calls have been made to police, an ambulance has been called out about 20 times, and the fire chief has twice issued orders for campers to remove hazardous material.

Postma says a social housing project slated to be built at the site will provide about 250 units along with an integrated health centre, though construction is not set to begin for four or five years.

Maria Wallstam of the Carnegie Community Action Project says Vancouver urgently needs more housing now because up to 1,000 people are sleeping outside every night in the city's downtown core.