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Fourteen occupants of lower Patricia homeless camp moved to supportive housing

City outreach coordinator Patrick Zsombor was among the city staff who recently provided support to BC Housing workers as they transitioned 14 encampment occupants to housing. The city recently hired two outreach coordinators with funding from Union of BC Municipalities Strengthening Communities’ Services Program. Bylaw staff and outreach workers are on the encampment site every day to help the city’s most vulnerable population. City of Prince George photo

This week, City of Prince George outreach workers, bylaw services staff and parks staff, in coordination with representatives from other partner agencies, supported BC Housing’s efforts to move 14 occupants of the encampment on Lower Patricia Boulevard to supportive indoor housing and out of the cold and elements. With the permission of each of the occupants, staff removed the structures after the occupants departed, for the safety and well-being of the remaining occupants.

City staff continue to work each day with BC Housing and other key partners to ensure the health and safety of un-sheltered individuals in the downtown area by connecting them to housing and services. To support the efforts of these agencies, the city recently hired two outreach coordinators with funding from Union of BC Municipalities Strengthening Communities’ Services Program. Bylaw staff and outreach workers are on site every day.

“The occupants who moved to housing all moved willingly and peacefully with totes containing their belongings,” said city outreach worker Patrick Zsombor. “I know each of these people by name and we have developed a good relationship. I am pleased they have now been provided with housing. We spoke with each of the occupants and they understood that any items left behind would be removed.”

After their departure, city staff removed the vacated structures and their contents to reduce risks such as fire hazards. Heavy equipment is used for this removal for the safety of the workers.

The structures and belongings of encampment occupants who chose to remain have not been removed. On Friday, a structure at the encampment caught fire and had to be put out by Prince George Fire Rescue.

By removing derelict and empty structures from public property, city parks staff and Bylaw Services are providing their regular service to the public, ensuring public safety for encampment occupants and the surrounding community, while adhering to the recent Court ruling on the encampment. Earlier this month, the city further complied with the decision by closing the George Street encampment on November 2 when BC Housing safely relocated the 20 occupants to a supportive housing facility. 

The city continues to work closely with BC Housing and other partners for the health and safety of encampment occupants and the surrounding community.

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