Homelessness Action Plan - Update 2022

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The Homelessness Action Plan was adopted by Council on July 11, 2022. The 2022 Plan updates the work that has been done since 2014 and provides an overarching framework with immediate and longer-term actions to prevent and reduce homelessness throughout our community.

BACKGROUND:
Between January and July 2022, the City worked with Urban Matters to update the City's Homelessness Action Plan.

The Homelessness Action Plan (HAP) includes strategies and actions to be led or supported by the City in regards to Homelessness in Abbotsford immediately and into the future.

The purpose of the City's Homelessness Action Plan is to:

  • Identify ways for the City to strengthen its supports for community-led services and programs, including through City-owned assets and resources that can be leveraged to address homelessness and support partnerships;
  • Identify the City's role, and ongoing resources required, to support the coordination of community homelessness initiatives;
  • Identify opportunities to partner with senior levels of government;
  • Inform City policies, programs and activities (e.g. Temporary Use Permits, Community Recreation Facility use, etc);
  • Determine ways to measure tangible progress in the community's response to homelessness

Throughout the process, engagement took place with a variety of stakeholders, and those with vested interests in homelessness and associated social supports to ensure that the process includes valuable input into strategies and actions moving forward; communication is maintained for the scope and context of the Project; meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders; and, better understand, bring to light, and clearly communicate the specific challenges people experiencing homelessness may confront in Abbotsford.

A data snapshot was prepared for this project, which can be found here: https://letstalkabbotsford.ca/27006/widgets/109472/documents/73187

The Homelessness Action Plan was adopted by Council on July 11, 2022. The 2022 Plan updates the work that has been done since 2014 and provides an overarching framework with immediate and longer-term actions to prevent and reduce homelessness throughout our community.

BACKGROUND:
Between January and July 2022, the City worked with Urban Matters to update the City's Homelessness Action Plan.

The Homelessness Action Plan (HAP) includes strategies and actions to be led or supported by the City in regards to Homelessness in Abbotsford immediately and into the future.

The purpose of the City's Homelessness Action Plan is to:

  • Identify ways for the City to strengthen its supports for community-led services and programs, including through City-owned assets and resources that can be leveraged to address homelessness and support partnerships;
  • Identify the City's role, and ongoing resources required, to support the coordination of community homelessness initiatives;
  • Identify opportunities to partner with senior levels of government;
  • Inform City policies, programs and activities (e.g. Temporary Use Permits, Community Recreation Facility use, etc);
  • Determine ways to measure tangible progress in the community's response to homelessness

Throughout the process, engagement took place with a variety of stakeholders, and those with vested interests in homelessness and associated social supports to ensure that the process includes valuable input into strategies and actions moving forward; communication is maintained for the scope and context of the Project; meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders; and, better understand, bring to light, and clearly communicate the specific challenges people experiencing homelessness may confront in Abbotsford.

A data snapshot was prepared for this project, which can be found here: https://letstalkabbotsford.ca/27006/widgets/109472/documents/73187

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
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    Hi, I've only lived in Abbotsford for about 5 years but this year is the worst in terms of garbage and homelessness I've seen. This is especially evident by the area over by Sumas / HWY1 (Backside of Walmart). When does the City plan to make a major push and start and continue on going clean up around the city this year? Thanks Mike

    Mike S asked 4 months ago

    Hi Mike, 

    Thanks for the question - As you may have seen, there have been increased clean ups there so the general area has less garbage than would be seen months ago - The BEAP program through Matsqui-Abbotsford Impact Society has increased frequency of clean ups to weekly, from bi-weekly. 

    In addition to the above mentioned clean ups, we are hoping to see a major item clean up in the upcoming weeks led by the Ministry of Transportation, that would see the the burnt out items removed, and consolidation of campers where people remain there. Unfortunately as this is provincial land we can continue to advocate, send emails, make calls, but have to wait for them for action - which I personally do weekly, and will continue to do until addressed. 

    In addition to the refuse, BC Housing and local stakeholders are working towards a plan to have people in the encampment moved to different types of housing, but this will take a bit of tome as vacancies are slim and the need is great. 

    Feel free to email me directly to discuss further - msikora@abbotsford.ca

    Thank you,

    Mike  

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    We are having a serious issue with a homeless encampment being set up in our commercial property’s back parking lot almost weekly. We have been forced to hire a security company to monitor and the police are regularly called. Last weekend the police were there at least 4 times and the homeless people are as said by the police “relentless” and will not leave. They have since moved on but will likely come back. Sometimes they have up tp 20 people and I was told a hooker that was there solicited one of the tenants. As well there is active drug use. What more can be done? I’ve spoken to the police numerous times and they are stretched thin. Now I see a sexual assault occurred there this weekend. Something needs to be done about this issue that is getting worse and worse each weekend. Address is 32915 S. Fraser way. We also have installed security video. Our tenants are afraid to use the back parking lot even though this is private property. Please help!

    Karen M asked 4 months ago

    Hi Karen, 

    Thank you for your question. You are not alone in feeling frustrated; this is a challenge that more and more communities are facing, including Abbotsford. 

    It is unfortunate that you have had to hire security, but at the same time I am grateful that you and your building are responding to the challenges. As you have indicated, APD does a great job responding to safety concerns, but often struggle with the ability for longterm solutions as many of these fall under health (substance use and mental health), and the broader criminal justice system (prosecution of charges, probation, sentencing, etc.). Short of having someone - APD, security, Bylaw - stand in a space 24/hr a day, some of those who cause the challenges will return when enforcement is gone, and often what we can do is continue to apply appropriate pressure so it is known that areas are not for certain activities or behaviours, which eventually changes the situation. 

    An additional option would be to call the Abbotsford Police Community Policing office and request to speak to someone about a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) assessment, which looks at sight lines, lighting, barriers, and other factors that can keep spaces for their intended purposes and people who use them safe. 

    As a City because we have no jurisdiction on how health and justice services are delivered, we are regularly leaning into these issues at a micro level (community) and at a macro level (policies, legislation, provincial bodies/funders) to increase and change how programs are delivered and see barriers to access reduced. 

    In the update of the Homelessness Action Plan, which is scheduled to be completed mid-summer, there will be steps laid out on how we are going to lean into many of these issues, including housing, service delivery, and community engagement which will help addressing the challenges being experienced. 

    Thank you,

    Mike 

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    Why doesn't the city just provide real housing for people instead of spending nearly a quarter of our tax dollars on police that simply criminalize poverty? We need regulated, affordable housing for all.

    Amrit_HxH asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for this question, Amrit. 

    The cities role in supporting the development of housing, particularly in types of social housing (subsidized, affordable, supportive, etc.) is facilitating the land and building processes. The work of funding social housing falls under the purview of the provincial government and usually partners with not-for-profit organizations in communities to make this happen. In addition to funding capital for housing, another cost comes in the operation of housing, which can be in the millions of dollars annually for housing that comes with supports, which also comes from provincial funds. 

    In the upcoming update to the Homelessness Action Plan, the City will be looking to explore opportunities to increase all types of housing and will include increased advocacy and partnership with senior levels of government for funding, and the examination of internal policies and resources to support seeing more housing available. 

    Thank you,

    Mike 

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    Can one of the roles of the city be cleaning up the garbage caused by this spread out homeless/housing problem. It is litterly all over city and has caused our family to take our free time and spending money to chilliwack.

    Sl asked 6 months ago

    Good morning, 

    Garbage clean up is something that is done through more than one department of the City - it is an overwhelming challenge as you know; when an area is cleaned up, as takes place regularly, it is not long before it is back, and we do it all over again. 

    In addition to City addressing this directly, the local Business Engagement Ambassador Program (BEAP), operated through Matsqui-Abbotsford Impact Society also addresses various areas as well. 

    Through many programs offered in the CIty (including BEAP listed above), work is constantly being done to encourage people to be responsible for their part, including garbage. 

    There is work to do, and it is happening, but some areas require more than others. 

    Thank you,

    Mike 

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    Why do police officers drive by pandering on medians that are posted with signs indicating contravention of city bylaws?

    Wayne asked 6 months ago

    Good morning, 

    Although I can not speak on behalf of the Police - this is a bylaw, and aside from fines - which we know is not the answer for someone experiencing homelessness - unless enforcement (bylaw or APD) is standing by the signs all day, people when asked to move often return once enforcement has moved on. 

    One thing we are constantly working on with community is access to necessities that would provide the basic needs for people whereby panhandling would not be necessary. 

    Unfortunately this is a very complex issue and we are not alone in looking for solutions from every perspective. 

    Thank you,

    Mike 

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    Why are they re-zoning 1640-1670 riverside

    Glenaby asked 6 months ago

    Good morning, 

    Apologies for the late reply to this. 

    The rezoning would allow for permanent housing to be in place, as it is currently under a Temporary Use Permit. With permanent housing comes addition supports for people, as well as increased capacity to manage surrounding areas. When a person is able to acquire and maintain permanent housing with a variety of supports, they are in a much better place to make decisions that would have a positive impact on their own lives as well as the surrounding community. 

    Thank you,

    Mike 

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    I have many concerns about the homeless situation that is honestly plaguing the city. There are so many camps set up, many right beside "No Trespassing" and "No Camping" signs. I understand that this is a very difficult situation but we need a tougher plan. The creation of the warming hut in the old visitor center on Sumas way only encourages more homeless to migrate to this side of town. I feel like the city is just trying to move the problem our way instead of cleaning up the situation. I was happy to see the camp at Clearbrook Rd and St. Fraser Way cleaned up now we need the rest worked on. The camps by Walmart are a disgrace. If it is a matter of the city not being able to enforce because of land ownership, as stated in many replies, then please give us the info for who to contact. The owners have to do something, if this was my property I would have ByLaw officers hounding and fining me constantly.

    Ryan 01 asked 5 months ago

    Hi Ryan, 

    Thank you for your question - As both a resident of Abbotsford, and one that works for the City, I too find myself in a similar position. I reached out to our contact and was given the local Ministry of Transportation office as your best number to call (604.795.8211).

    As an update - we know that the wheels ARE moving on the clean up of this, and we should see movement in the upcoming weeks as it pertains to clean up and securing the site to ensure it does not return to the state that it is now. 

    Thank you,

    Mike 

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    It would be awesome to get rid of the homeless as the City is affected by the way these people live. The garbage and filth on the truckers lot corner of Sumas Way past Walmart is a disgrace. There is nowhere for truckers to park in Abbotsford.

    Nini Nestor asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for the comment on addressing challenges as it relates to homelessness in Abbotsford. As a City, we are currently undertaking a process to update our Homelessness Action Plan, which will provide clear direction on future action items as they relate to increasing housing opportunities, ensuring services are available for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and opportunities to continue to work with senior levels of government to ensure adequate resources are available to do this work. 

    The encampment located near Sumas Way is on Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) land, located behind the Walmart. As this property is owned by MOTI, as a provincial property, City is engaging them for clean up; this has been a long process, and have been getting some traction to address the mess and debris located there, which we continue to remain optimistic that we will see increased efforts materialize very soon. 

    In addition to the larger scale removal of debris, we are aware that the Business Engagement Ambassador Program (BEAP), operated through Impact-Abby continue to do bi-weekly clean ups in that location, getting rid of garbage that can be physically moved, supported with resources from MOTI and BC Housing to help manage the growing concern. While this is great news on one level, we are aware that there is only so much individuals can do, and as such will continue to engage/lean in to MOTI for this. 

    Please feel free to reach out to me @ msikora@abbotsford.ca and would be glad to discuss further. 

    Thank you,
    Mike 

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    I see comments below about the mess behind Walmart on Lonzo, but still nothing has been done. I hadn't driven by there for a few weeks and I was shocked to see it looks like a complete DUMP. Every week it's getting worse. Tourists come off of the Sumas Exit and that is the first impression they see????? It would probably help to at least put a couple of dumpsters there and have them picked up every week. Remove the burnt out vehicles and trailer. We need to have some pride, where we live and show tourist that this is a welcoming place. Not a dump that is run by the homeless!

    Leroy asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your comments and question regarding the encampment on Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) land, located behind the Walmart. As this property is owned by MOTI, as a provincial property, City is engaging them for clean up; this has been a long process, and have been getting some traction to address the mess and debris located there, which we continue to remain optimistic that we will see increased efforts materialize very soon. 

    In addition to the larger scale removal of debris, we are aware that the Business Engagement Ambassador Program (BEAP), operated through Impact-Abby continue to do bi-weekly clean ups in that location, getting rid of garbage that can be physically moved, supported with resources from MOTI and BC Housing to help manage the growing concern. While this is great news on one level, we are aware that there is only so much individuals can do, and as such will continue to engage/lean in to MOTI for this. 

    Please feel free to reach out to me @ msikora@abbotsford.ca and would be glad to discuss further. 

    Thank you,
    Mike 

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    When is Abbotsford going to take pride in welcoming people into our city again? Clean up the garden at the Sumas exit, fly those flags high...oh and actually make a move towards cleaning up the garbage dump of an area behind Wal-Mart and literally right beside the homeless shelter. It's a main walkway to the University of the Fraser Valley and the residents feel unsafe to walk or cycle through there...its a real shame the City has let things get so bad. Please do better!!

    18+ year resident asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for your comments and question regarding the encampment on Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) land, located behind the Walmart. As this property is owned by MOTI, as a provincial property, City is engaging them for clean up; this has been a long process, and have been getting some traction to address the mess and debris located there, which we are hoping to see materialize very soon. 

    In addition to the larger scale removal of debris, we are aware that the Business Engagement Ambassador Program (BEAP), operated through Impact-Abby has been doing monthly clean ups in that location, getting rid of garbage that can be physically moved, supported with resources from MOTI and BC Housing to help manage the growing concern. While this is great news on one level, we are aware that there is only so much individuals can do, and as such will continue to engage/lean in to MOTI for this. 

    Please feel free to reach out to me @ msikora@abbotsford.ca and would be glad to discuss further. 

    Thank you,
    Mike 

Page last updated: 12 Jul 2022, 04:58 PM