Homeless camps create safety concerns for residents, businesses

Complaints have been voiced about issues such as thefts in the area, garbage littered all around and needles being discarded

Homeless camps create safety concerns for residents, businesses

Many residents and business owners feel some kind of action needs to be taken after the recent incident involving the city dumping chicken manure on a homeless site.

The manure  incident has shone a light on the plight of the homeless, but some people believe that light needs to expose the problems caused by the homeless as well.

Complaints have been voiced about issues such as thefts in the area, garbage littered all around and needles being discarded.

One office worker said there have been several instances where a homeless person decided to camp out in the entranceway of the building.

“That was a little disconcerting, for staff and potential customers,” she said, not wanting to reveal her name or the company she works for.

Building security was called in and dealt with the issue quickly, she said, adding the problem has yet to reoccur.

Other business people tell a similar story.

“We have seen on two or three occasions, particularly in poor weather, they will sleep in front of our building,” said one man.

He believes that the biggest issue surrounding the homeless is safety, not for his employees, but for the homeless themselves.

“We have witnessed two or three overdoses outside our building.”

He also said that on several occasions a homeless person has suddenly darted out into traffic on Gladys Avenue.

“I have seen them crossing the street, suddenly and abruptly, causing vehicles to slam on their brakes.”

He said he doesn’t see the homeless as “an eyesore” adding they are “a little bit of a reflection of our own society.”

“It’s horrible to see 15 or 20 people living in a ditch.”

Still other people say they have seen people unconscious along the sidewalk.

“It’s really frightening because you don’t know if they are sleeping or if they’ve ODed,” said one woman.

Some home owners are less sympathetic, sending several letters to the Abbotsford News complaining about thefts and other illegal acts associated with homelessness.

“Try having a barbecue when the propane tanks are missing, stolen just so the brass value can be sold for scrap,” wrote one reader.

Abbotsford News

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