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Sweeps throughout the unhoused communities break inherent Indigenous rights, says outreach worker – Alaska Highway News

by ahnationtalk on June 5, 202338 Views

As Victoria and Vancouver enforce street and traffic bylaws, British Columbia’s homeless continue to be displaced

For years, the unhoused community have been setting up tents in various locations throughout municipalities in B.C., with the city, bylaw, and police enforcing street and traffic regulations displacing the homeless with a lack of sustainable housing options available.

According to Nikki Otteson, founder of the Backpack Project, Victoria’s Princess Avenue, in front of Rock Bay shelter, and Pandora Avenue are places that are swept regularly.

“We get a lot of text messages and messages on social media, asking for tents and sleeping bags and clothing again,” said Otteson when reflecting on the aftermath of a sweep. “We hear lots of stories about what bylaw has taken and what they’ve thrown in the garbage. A lot of it is sentimental.”

When the spaces that unhoused people gathered in are swept, Otteson said “the first [thing] it does is it breaks up community and it breaks up safety.”

“When you’re scattered, you’re on your own again,” she said. “We’re not only isolating them from the housed community, we’re isolating them from their own communities.”

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