Rough Sleeper Camps

Whether set up by persons experiencing homelessness or others in the community, makeshift camps in Red Deer’s parks and other green spaces pose a risk to health and safety for those who use them and for the community at large.

The City must maintain safe and enjoyable parks while also connecting rough sleepers to housing programs and supports.

Since 2009, our community has assisted more than 1,000 persons experiencing homelessness – including rough sleepers – to find and maintain housing.

  • In 2016/17, thanks to provincial OSSI funding, 260 people were newly housed and/or supported to maintain housing while 175 were newly housed and/or supported to maintain housing through federal HPS funding. Read the From Homeless to Housed Annual Report.
  • One quarter of the clients who came to a housing first program were sleeping rough and our system has housed them.
  • Our system has focused on housing the longest term shelter stayers and rough sleepers.
  • Our Coordinated Entry Program’s outreach workers actively connect with individuals experiencing homelessness including rough sleepers.
  • Our community agencies work together to provide the best fit for housing persons experiencing homelessness to increase their odds of success.
  • We have 12 housing programs for persons experiencing domestic violence, programs for youth, and programs for people with mental health issues and addictions.
  • We currently have more than 400 individuals in our variety of housing and supports programs who were experiencing homelessness and are now on the path to more stability in their lives.
  • There will always be people on the streets and in shelters. There will always be people who fall into homelessness. Our work is to get people housed as soon as we can.

The City has an obligation to maintain the safety and enjoyment of its parks for the community.

  • Camp debris often includes used needles and bio-hazards that pose a risk to health and safety.
  • Such sites can attract illegal behaviours.
  • The camps can provide fire and other hazardous risks to City infrastructure. 

Camp cleanup process

When a Municipal Enforcement Officer is dispatched to the reported camp site, it is very often vacant. Once onsite, the officer issues a 24-hour eviction notice and provides contact information connecting any persons experiencing homelessness with the wide variety of housing and/or support options available to those who choose to access them.

After 24 hours, the officer returns to confirm the camp is vacated. If occupied, the officer will make subsequent trips back to the site. If vacant, Parks department staff will clean up the site.

To report an unsafe camp, call the non-emergency RCMP complaint line (403-343-5575).