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Mayor's statement on encampments

​I have heard from many members of our community on their concerns about the encampment sites around our city and I want to say, I hear you and I echo your concerns. I'm concerned about the folks who have had to resort to living in an encampment and I am concerned about the sites and the risk they pose to the health of our community.

A compassionate clean-up effort is currently underway in the area surrounding the Civic Track with several organizations providing assistance and outreach. I'd like to extend my thanks to the City staff, community partners and Lethbridge Police Service who are helping with these efforts at the encampment sites. The work being done in helping to navigate some of the situations encountered within the encampment sites is hard and complex and I am grateful to those assisting the vulnerable members of our community.

City Council knows the only way out of this cyclical encampment situation is with transitional and permanent supportive housing. This is why I am bringing forward an Official Business Motion to City Council's next meeting on July 26 to discuss what we can do now to find a constructive, compassionate way to work through this complex situation. The motion will look to act on what we can do as a City Council immediately to help stop the encampments from happening and what we can do in the long term to get the housing and resources we need from the Provincial Government and to not become a tax burden on our residents.

I know many of you are frustrated and I am too. We do not have all of the answers and there is no simple quick fix to this situation. Many cities around the world are struggling with encampments and it's a long and hard path ahead. I look forward to discussing this issue further with my Council colleagues. 

Be safe and kind to one another.

Mayor Blaine Hyggen