Urban Encampments in Public Areas

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 individuals sleeping rough to appropriate housing programs and social supports.

Between April 1, 2009 and June 30, 2019, our community has helped 1,355 individuals experiencing homelessness – including those sleeping rough – find and maintain housing in Red Deer. During this time, our community has also assisted more than 2,700 people access emergency shelter in times of need.

  • Over the last 10 years, 945 people in our community were housed and received supports though our Coordinated Access Process (CAP), supported by provincial OSSI and federal HPS/Reaching Home funding. To learn more about our efforts to address homelessness in our community, read the Community Housing and Homelessness Integrated Plan.
  • Approximately one third of the clients who came to a housing first program in 2019 indicated they were currently sleeping rough and our system has housed them.
  • Our system has focused on housing the longest-term shelter stayers and individuals sleeping rough.
  • Our Coordinated Entry Program’s outreach workers actively connect with individuals experiencing homelessness including those sleeping rough.
  • Our community agencies work together in providing the best fit for housing persons experiencing homelessness to increase their odds of success.
  • We currently have 13 housing programs for persons experiencing housing insecurity, programs for youth, and programs for people with mental health issues and addictions.
  • Our system has an annual capacity for 582 individuals, experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, to receive supports through a variety of housing and support programs
  • There will always be people on the streets and in shelters. There will always be people who fall into homelessness due to uncertainties and circumstances in their lives. Our work is to get people housed or re-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 Community Peace Officer is dispatched to the reported encampment site, it can often be vacant. If occupants are present upon attendance or if there are clear signs of habitation, the camp location is provided to a community outreach team and the Issuing Officer posts a 24h-72h eviction notice relative to the site’s risk. Outreach staff respond to each active encampment and provides referrals to housing supports and other social services. The locations of all active and non-active encampments are recorded. Municipal Enforcement communicate the details of the encampment to Parks department staff who are regularly scheduled for site clean ups.

To report an unsafe camp, call the non-emergency RCMP complaint line (403-406-2200).