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Thread: Whyte Ave homeless are getting worse

  1. #1

    Default Whyte Ave homeless are getting worse

    Plenty of the Whyte Ave homeless crowd is pretty easy to deal with (like that short, squat guy who just walks around on bar nights asking passerby for change), but some of these guys are getting to be pests.

    The "Flower Guy" who hangs around Safeway & Save-On Foods buying flowers (to sell to bar-goers at a mark-up) has now upgraded to pestering people to buy him food, making the biggest "sad face" he possibly can- he often does this 3-4 times a day in each store. There's another very-aggressive guy who takes to threatening employees who try to remove him from storefronts (you'll know the one- very short & skinny, with a scraggly beard)- this jerk even has a cellphone, so he's not THAT hard-up! I've seen him mouthing off to grocery store employees, the waitresses at Blue's, etc.- he's a real menace.

    The public washrooms on the Ave are now a complete nightmare for anyone walking by- frequently entire groups of people are laying about in there, causing health & safety issues. The stragglers even loll about outside the place- this particular area has been a problem for years (before the bathroom opened, they camped out at the bus stop nearby), since there's no business entrance there to shoo them along.

    A few years ago, the police actually made a concentrated effort to "clean up" the place, and did so by their usual methods (ie. drive up, demand to see identification, then do so again a half-hour later; people with warrants tend to abandon places that constantly see this kind of attention). It worked for quite some time. But with the Downtown Arena becoming a force, a lot of Strathcona residents are finding a lack of police attention on the Ave to this kind of problem. I'm worried they'll just kind of let the neighborhood sink, as nobody else wants to deal with the issue.

  2. #2
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    The whole city has seen more and more of that over the last few years, not just Whyte Ave.

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    More permanent supportive living facilities for the hard to house will help with that. I don't think we can enforce our way out of these issues.

  4. #4

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    There is a plan to end homelessness, but will it also end panhandling? If there is no plan to end panhandling then what is the point of ending homelessness?
    Edmonton first, everything else second.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    There is a plan to end homelessness, but will it also end panhandling? If there is no plan to end panhandling then what is the point of ending homelessness?
    Are are you actually asking what the point is of getting human beings off of the streets in a northern city? Or suggesting that the sole purpose for doing so is to remove a slight inconvenience from you?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mla View Post
    More permanent supportive living facilities for the hard to house will help with that. I don't think we can enforce our way out of these issues.
    I think the notion of ending homelessness is a mirage. its a lofty goal to strive for and its hard to imagine why, but a lot of the homeless at any given time have had alternate options and don't want them. Invariably a lot of these people have mental health conditions and of course substance abuse, wear out countless welcomes, don't like rules, structure, listening to anybody, and this is where they are. Its people that make every mistake possible for a long time, to get to this point. There is a subset of homeless that can be helped, and its hard to know which, but theres hardcore homeless that will continue to resist housing. You can help these people with donations, with food, occasional shelter from the storm but they don't want official housing.

    Alternately homeless counts are almost always linearly correlated with housing costs. So theres that too. Edmonton, a winter city, is overpriced right now and with little justification for the prices being this high other than that people will pay anything in this city.

    Lets clamor and pay high to live in one of the coldest climates of a 1M pop city on Earth.. It doesn't make sense.
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  7. #7

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    How about doing what they do in Vancouver? If they stray too far from East Village, they stick em in a wagon and move em back to the slum. Oh, hold on, they tried that in Edmonton a few years back, right off Whyte Ave, and it caused a media outrage.

    What worries me most now is what will happen when weed is legalized (which I agree with, but perhaps not re how it is being done). Are homeless going to be able to sit outside stores and light up, with the smoke wafting in for all customers to "enjoy"? I hate the smell of weed, its already all over the place, but its going to get worse soon, and it will be one less legal means for the police to move vagrants (a law that used to be enforced until we got too many human rights).
    Last edited by moahunter; 17-04-2017 at 09:23 AM.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    they tried that in Edmonton a few years back, right off Whyte Ave, and it caused a media outrage.
    I wish politicians would ignore "media outrages". Because that's usually what it is - a handful of people making noise and the media trying to make a story look like it has more support than it actually does.

    The great majority prefer to walk in their cities and neighborhoods without being accosted by aggressive street people.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    How about doing what they do in Vancouver? If they stray too far from East Village, they stick em in a wagon and move em back to the slum. Oh, hold on, they tried that in Edmonton a few years back, right off Whyte Ave, and it caused a media outrage.

    What worries me most now is what will happen when weed is legalized (which I agree with, but perhaps not re how it is being done). Are homeless going to be able to sit outside stores and light up, with the smoke wafting in for all customers to "enjoy"? I hate the smell of weed, its already all over the place, but its going to get worse soon, and it will be one less legal means for the police to move vagrants (a law that used to be enforced until we got too many human rights).
    Why on Earth would you think that the same rules on smoking don't apply? As it is people are not supposed to smoke near doorways and access and are shooed away when they do that. Its not like just because pot is legal some ***** is going to be bogarting a joint walking along in the mall.
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  10. #10

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    This probably belongs in this thread;

    http://www.sebaonline.ca/blog/poverty-and-homelessness

    Boyle street, and Bissel also operate outreach teams that have worked in Whyte Ave. I have seen them first hand doing some excellent work right on the Ave. Afaik they release numbers to call for businesses, other homeless people, or desperate themselves to call when somebody is being aggressive. They do a good job de-escalating and finding solutions. Also reminding people how to pan handle properly if that's what they insist on.

    https://bissellcentre.org/programs/i...-housing-team/


    http://boylestreet.org/we-can-help/a...ices/outreach/


    I'm not sure if this program still exists but churches in the area have made efforts and also have food care packages;

    http://www.wcr.ab.ca/This-Week/Stories/entryid/5164


    The best programs, and responses to these issues are the outreach teams who do more, for less money than EPS response which is often not the best way to deal with the homeless people.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Why on Earth would you think that the same rules on smoking don't apply? As it is people are not supposed to smoke near doorways and access and are shooed away when they do that. Its not like just because pot is legal some ***** is going to be bogarting a joint walking along in the mall.
    I think it should be more restricted. Pot is a much stronger smell, its nauseating - you can basically get high sitting next to someone smoking it. I get nauseated just by standing next to someone who has been smoking it.

  12. #12

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    Skunk has a nauseating smell. That's the stuff that smells like a combination of burning skunk and Brussel sprouts with a hint of azz. i don't know how anybody can or would smoke the stuff. Its like drinking rubbing alcohol. You must be around the lowest of the low pot smokers. Lots of pot is quite fragrant.

    I do agree that pot has a stronger smell than Cigarettes but it does not have a stronger smell than Cigars.

    You can't really get high sitting next to someone smoking pot. Don't go to any concerts if you think that.

    You can get high if you're in a small car with a few people smoking bud for half an hour and windows all up. That's almost the degree it would take to get second hand high. you're imagining it.


    I'm actually allergic to tobacco. Have a confirmed allergy and smelling pot doesn't bother me to the degree you are describing. What did bother me is that in the 60's 70's you'd go to a hockey game at Edmonton Gardens or Coliseum and everybody would be smoking on the concourse or in their seats. 15K smoking inside in a confined space, I literally felt like I couldn't breath. I get some quasi asthmatic response to that degree of smoking but that's so hazy and thick there are clouds of the stuff forming.

    I'll never forget this in my entire life. Oil Kings vs Centennials playoff game at the Gardens. The public address system said could people please stop smoking as it was an OT game and the players were hacking their lungs out and could hardly play. It was that bad.
    Last edited by Replacement; 17-04-2017 at 10:19 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrOilers View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    they tried that in Edmonton a few years back, right off Whyte Ave, and it caused a media outrage.
    I wish politicians would ignore "media outrages". Because that's usually what it is - a handful of people making noise and the media trying to make a story look like it has more support than it actually does.

    The great majority prefer to walk in their cities and neighborhoods without being accosted by aggressive street people.
    What actually happened was the police picked up homeless people from central areas and dropped them off outside the city in rural areas when it was -30. This is not fake outrage - that deserves actual outrage.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by AAAAE View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MrOilers View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    they tried that in Edmonton a few years back, right off Whyte Ave, and it caused a media outrage.
    I wish politicians would ignore "media outrages". Because that's usually what it is - a handful of people making noise and the media trying to make a story look like it has more support than it actually does.

    The great majority prefer to walk in their cities and neighborhoods without being accosted by aggressive street people.
    What actually happened was the police picked up homeless people from central areas and dropped them off outside the city in rural areas when it was -30. This is not fake outrage - that deserves actual outrage.
    Not true, it was north Edmonton where they were dropped off. This happened in summer.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmont...-case-1.901508

    Ever since that incident, police stopped giving a **** / doing anything about the problems on Whyte, and I can't blame them, all they would get is media outrage and lost pay / grief.

    The officers were accused of picking up nine homeless aboriginal people on Whyte Avenue in May 2005. The witnesses said they were driven in the crowded, hot van for as long as 90 minutes until they were dropped in a north Edmonton parking lot.

    In his ruling on Nov. 5, Manuel rejected suggestions the officers' actions were mean-spirited or racially motivated, stating that he believed the officers had a genuine concern for the people they transported that day.
    Last edited by moahunter; 17-04-2017 at 02:53 PM.

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    I believe I am thinking of a separate incident from what you linked.

    Nevertheless, in your story the homeless were locked into an unventilated van for 2 hours - driven around and dropped off on the north end of the city in a parking lot. I fail to see how that is any better.

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    The solution, though, is to have a permanent police foot presence in the area. NOT to force homeless into vans and drive them around for hours. The police should have a kiosk at Gateway and Whyte.
    Last edited by AAAAE; 17-04-2017 at 05:18 PM.

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    When I say more supportive living facilities I'm not talking about more George Spady Centres or more Hope Missions. I'm more talking about places like Ambrose Place. Facilities that are staffed 24/7 and are equipped with programs. Places like this are rare but are much more effective imo. Especially when it comes to the "hard to house" homeless who often need more attention and supervision.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by AAAAE View Post
    The solution, though, is to have a permanent police foot presence in the area. NOT to force homeless into vans and drive them around for hours. The police should have a kiosk at Gateway and Whyte.
    So the homeless can spit on it? Police won't do squat to fix situation, because they don't want to end up in some liberal law suit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AAAAE View Post
    The solution, though, is to have a permanent police foot presence in the area. NOT to force homeless into vans and drive them around for hours. The police should have a kiosk at Gateway and Whyte.
    So the homeless can spit on it? Police won't do squat to fix situation, because they don't want to end up in some liberal law suit.
    Police don't get to do what they 'want'. Their job is to uphold the law.

    To suggest that police are some kind of neutered force because an internal review process ended in discipline for officers who locked homeless people in a sweltering van for two hours is simply outrageous.

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    ^^ The police don't do anything because what can they do? Sure they can issue some bylaw tickets for aggressive panhandling, maybe make a public intoxication arrest, maybe throw the suspect in jail for the night. That isn't going to solve the problem, housing the homeless in supervised supportive living facilities with proper programming and treatments, will.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by AAAAE View Post
    The solution, though, is to have a permanent police foot presence in the area. NOT to force homeless into vans and drive them around for hours. The police should have a kiosk at Gateway and Whyte.
    Use of EPS is not the ideal solution as I mentioned. Homelessness is not a crime unless one makes the worst interpretation of vagrancy. Nor should panhandling be dealt with forcible removal, confinement, or regularly require the use of police and overblown tactics. For the reasons I mentioned this is best dealt with by Outreach teams that I cited in the thread and that work very well with these populations. Police can be useful in certain situations but not as a rule in responding/helping these people.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mla View Post
    When I say more supportive living facilities I'm not talking about more George Spady Centres or more Hope Missions. I'm more talking about places like Ambrose Place. Facilities that are staffed 24/7 and are equipped with programs. Places like this are rare but are much more effective imo. Especially when it comes to the "hard to house" homeless who often need more attention and supervision.
    Yes, we need A LOT more of those. We are blowing all kinds of money on homeless already for law enforcement, hospitals, etc. Those costs go a lot farther in assisted living facilities. However, we will always get a lot of mentally-ill people who refuse to live in one of those facilities and just be homeless anyway... unless they are a convicted criminal, people cannot be kept in facilities against their will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AAAAE View Post
    The solution, though, is to have a permanent police foot presence in the area. NOT to force homeless into vans and drive them around for hours. The police should have a kiosk at Gateway and Whyte.
    Use of EPS is not the ideal solution as I mentioned. Homelessness is not a crime unless one makes the worst interpretation of vagrancy. Nor should panhandling be dealt with forcible removal, confinement, or regularly require the use of police and overblown tactics. For the reasons I mentioned this is best dealt with by Outreach teams that I cited in the thread and that work very well with these populations. Police can be useful in certain situations but not as a rule in responding/helping these people.
    I agree with you that outreach is needed. However, in specific circumstances such as violence, destruction of public property, a small police kiosk would keep an eye on the situation and would prevent this from happening.

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    Think it's bad now ?



    Just wait another month.

    Once it warms up they will be everywhere.

    Especially east Whyte.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrOilers View Post
    However, we will always get a lot of mentally-ill people who refuse to live in one of those facilities and just be homeless anyway... unless they are a convicted criminal, people cannot be kept in facilities against their will.
    That's Liberal blasphemy - "homelessness can be eliminated", "just give them keys to a home and they will be nice responsible people who love living in the capitalist consumer rat race just like you and me". I don't get why we can't live and let live, homelessness will never go, but we do have a right I think to mitigate its impacts where infringes on the non-homeless.

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    Once they have a home, then what? A job?

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    ^a spouse, 2.7 kids, paying taxes, credit card debt, working out in a gym, "a pig in a cage, on antibiotics" ... all the good stuff in life... they can be just like us, instead of smelly and messy and cold (they can't prefer that can they? Surely not? How can you not want to be in our "zero stress" consumer lifestyle?).
    Last edited by moahunter; 18-04-2017 at 12:00 PM.

  28. #28

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    The average chronic homeless person will cost society more in law enforcement and health care than it would cost to provide basic housing and support, so the more homeless are housed the better. And yes, someone with a home is more likely to be able to hold down a job - tough to keep work hours if you need to be in the shelter line by 5pm to be sure to get a bed, and just having a stable mailing address can be essential.

    No, we will never eliminate homelessness, either the chronic kind or the temporary kind, any more than we will eliminate joblessness.
    Yes, even making a plan to END homelessness seems full of Hubris.

    But working to get people off the streets is good for all of us.
    There can only be one.

  29. #29

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    Theres some problems with those numbers.

    1)They do not generally take into account how quickly (and its often shocking) shelters for the homeless become rundown, damaged, even uninhabitable. That's why a lot of people say a bare bones structure like the remand would be better. Its a shelter, and its a relatively indestructible one. Not attractive option, but its better than not having somewhere to be in the winter.

    2) Accounting is always creative. they add up every cost that involves homeless people who are on the street, but those same numbers, i.e. every type of medical treatment are often left off the calculation as if they don't exist subsequent to housing. In a lot of cases medical treatments escalate for awhile after the person is housed as the accumulated health problems are treated.

    3) Recidivism. The numbers often assume that the housed will remain housed. The calculation does not illustrate the cost of a homeless person becoming short term housed, requiring elevated services and costs of all types, and then returning to the homeless cycle and several times. I'm in the field. There have been people that have returned to the street 20 or more times. Its something we think doesn't exist. We like to believe in the happily ever after anecdotes But the pull of escape is very strong in this population. One of the unique problems to homeless recividism is that basically every street scene is a trigger, where the person attempting recovery is met with friends acquaintances almost everywhere they look. These are called relapse triggers. Most people can control these by not going to bars, not driving by drinking haunts or drug dens. The homeless person just walks outside and all those trigger challenges are right there staring at them. Few people involved in planning programming and intervention understand this difference fully.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

  30. #30

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    ^I've long been suspicious that much of the analysis has links to property developers looking to construct on taxpayer dime.

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^I've long been suspicious that much of the analysis has links to property developers looking to construct on taxpayer dime.
    Well, its a little blacker even than that. Social service agencies are also involved in the shell game and there's convenient reporting of figures so that they can receive funding, donations, for expanded, or new facilities, expanded operations, and expanded org size and purview. One unfortunate aspect of being a Social Service agency in Alberta is that they have become so market oriented. Where every agency has to fiscally compete in a sense outside of what people would otherwise think. Its a very complex issue. it involves very much the illusion of help, and that said agency is providing factorial checklist approaches to help, than independent, full ranged review of what actually helps the most and what actually is fiscally prudent and the best use of monies. The latter statement may seem ironic, but I think its important consideration and that as a society if you fund so many things that turn out to less fruitfull do you eventually turn off or dissuade funding, donations, public will, etc.

    These are not questions generally asked in my field. Instead focus goes on gathering anecdotal stories and making commercials and presentations on how some are helped. Along with elemental stats that serve as things like numbers served, numbers helped. With often vague determinations of what such counted helped means.

    Outreach services of a wide range supplemented with some provision of shelter, food and services is not only the most cost efficient approach, it makes the most sense.

    That said there should be provision of Independent living services and facility and programming but on a screened basis for individuals that have shown and exhibited a will for change.

    Such notions as ending homelessness inevitably fail, they fail in a sense because they are the philosophical ideal goal, not the pragmatic harm reduction goal.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

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