25 com­plaints about home­less in parks

The Peterborough Examiner - - News - JOELLE KOVACH Ex­am­iner Staff Writer

The city re­ceived 25 com­plaints in 2018 about home­less peo­ple camp­ing in city parks, ac­cord­ing to a new city staff re­port — and al­though the city fol­lowed up in ev­ery case, there was only one oc­ca­sion where a per­son was evicted.

The Ex­am­iner was there on April 18 when E.J. White, 73, was re­moved by city staff from a tent in the park at Che­mong Rd. and Sun­set Blvd., just south of Wal­mart.

As city work­ers dis­man­tled his camp­site, so­cial ser­vice work­ers put him in a wait­ing cab to take him to Brock Mis­sion shel­ter for men.

The staff re­port from city pub­lic works su­per­vi­sor Phil Ja­cobs doesn’t de­scribe that scene.

But it does of­fer an up­date to the city’s are­nas, parks and re­cre­ation ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee on how the city has dealt with home­less peo­ple “liv­ing rough” in city parks over the last year.

Al­most ex­actly a year ago, the city adopted a new pro­to­col for deal­ing with home­less peo­ple liv­ing in city-owned parks: camp­sites are dis­man­tled by city staff af­ter the per­son has been asked three times to leave and been given 10 days to do so.

The re­port from Ja­cobs states that be­tween Jan. 1 and Nov. 9, 2018, the city re­ceived 25 com­plaints about peo­ple liv­ing rough in city parks.

Some de­tails from the re­port:

• When Ja­cobs vis­ited those 25 camp­sites, 17 sites still had peo­ple liv­ing in them and the rest were aban­doned.

• Ja­cobs ei­ther spoke to the peo­ple liv­ing in the 17 camp­sites, or he left a busi­ness card — and so­cial ser­vices work­ers fol­lowed up to see if they could help the peo­ple find homes.

• 11 peo­ple moved vol­un­tar­ily.

• In eight camp­sites, peo­ple did not move.

• Six of the eight camp­sites later had to be dis­man­tled by city work­ers.

• Of those six camp­sites, all ex­cept one (oc­cu­pied by White) were aban­doned by the time city work­ers ar­rived to do the dis­man­tling.

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