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The City of Edmonton AND the Province of Alberta have blood on their hands. Since the summer, I have volunteered with a 'boots on the ground' mutual aid group that serves the most vulnerable in #YEG. Here are some thoughts regarding encampments and the Shigella Outbreak 1/17

Health officials, community members, the City and mutual aid groups knew of the Shigella outbreak in the summer. Peers and I would discuss how to minimize the spread and protect ourselves + the community when serving our neighbours. KNEW ABOUT THIS IN THE SUMMER. 2/17
Very few (3-5?) public bathrooms are available to the community in the area of the Shigella outbreaks. The group I work with serves over 500 people one evening a week. You do the math. Bacterium passes through fecal matter. 3/17
To my knowledge, larger quantities of publicly accessible clean water are only really present during the warm months in the form of water fountains connected to fire hydrants. Shigella spreads in unsanitary conditions. 4/17
On top of dealing with a Shigella outbreak, the community is constantly disrupted by the City and @Edmonton Police. The unhoused community will gather in what the City describes as "encampments." This dehumanized word does not do justice to how encampments keep people alive. 5/17
You may think encampments are unnecessary, but until you see or experience what poverty looks and feels like, you may not understand. Encampments are a lifeline of mutual aid for a community with few resources. Living houseless is brutal, violent, and can be debilitating. 6/17
While the Ice District is alive and well a block away, unhoused folks are dying. The institutions that protect us do not even care enough to track these deaths. People are dying on the streets, and they don't care. 7/17 cbc.ca/news/canada/ed…
Folks experiencing homelessness are Indigenous, seniors and youth, people with disabilities, people who have served time, 2SLGBTQ+ people, people who use drugs people having nowhere to go after leaving the hospital. Tell me, why is a terminal cancer patient houseless? 8/17
The City committed to pausing the disbanding of encampments for the winter. They are not. To be clear, when they disband encampments, they make people pack up whatever they have, take their tent poles and tarps, and shuffle houseless folks to move along. 9/17
Connection to services may attempt to happen, but because many programs are abstinence-based, driven by faith, uphold colonial violence, are underfunded, or over capacity, people are left with no option but to move their stuff down the block when communities are disbanded. 10/17
And don't tell me there is space in the shelters. The City approved a plan that says they have insufficient resources to respond to houselessness. This winter, we have 1,072 emergency shelter spaces (mats on the floor) for more than 2650+ people. 11/17 pub-edmonton.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ash…
Back to the Shigella outbreak, very few proactive programs and policy in the summer... Now the City is acting reactively. Today they announced the disbanding of encampments will continue as a way to respond to the Shigella outbreak. Are you kidding me? 12/ myemail.constantcontact.com/News-Release--…
I was at the vet's a few weeks ago. A lady walked in while I was waiting in line. She was clearly traumatized and distraught, wandering around the office. When I went up and asked her what was going on, she told me the police had just disbanded her encampment. 13/17
She had only a small bag in her hands. Nothing else. She told me she had lost her people and had nothing. Tell me about how disbanding encampments is HELPING people, not traumatizing and killing them. 14/17
So yeah, I am angry. And you should be too. The answer is housing, and it's an emergency. People are dying in tent fires from trying to stay warm. The City's answer? In my opinion... 15/17
Either you are lucky and get pathways to resources, that many people who never access, claim are readily available. Or you get moved along. Moved and disrupted over and over again until you can't move more, and perish. 16/17
It's the City's fault and it's the Province's fault, and these two play hot potato between. More people will die in the meantime. 17/17 #yegcc #ableg #abpoli
For people asking how to help: read this thread and take action accordingly. Listen to/support/uplift voices like @Taylor McNallie ☕. Learning from her words and work have been instrumental in interrogating my motivations and actions while I move through life.
Shayla (they/her)
Hanging out in #YEG. Tweeting ironically except when I am not.
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