OAK BAY-GORDON HEAD (October 1, 2020) –Roxanne Helme, BC Liberal candidate for Oak Bay-Gordon Head is calling for an immediate end to unsupervised 24/7 camping that threaten the safety of both local residents and the homeless population within them.
“This is a matter of public safety,” said Helme. “Each unsupervised 24/7 tent encampment is an extremely dangerous place to be. We know people are smoking drugs in nylon tents; criminal elements have infiltrated the camps to prey on the vulnerable people within them; there is violent crime, in addition to drug and property crime, hiding within their walls; they are unsanitary; there is no compliance with public health directions in response to COVID 19 and so the list goes on. This not to mention that the 24/7 tent encampments are preventing the use of our parks as they were intended and that they are damaging their delicate ecosystems in the process.”
“There is no shortage of compassion in our community for those who are suffering with homelessness as well as addictions and mental health issues but it is absolutely no answer to put this vulnerable population further into harm’s way,” Helme added. The 24/7 tent encampments are dangerous to the residents both inside and outside of them. That’s why I join Andrew Wilkinson in calling for the end of 24/7 tent encampments that have been permitted by and are rapidly growing under the NDP.”
Helme was involved with Victoria’s Coalition to End Homelessness and the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board, and readily recognizes the threats to local communities with this inherently dangerous response. She says that we must immediately provide the supports that our homeless community desperately need combat substance abuse and mental health challenges and they must be appropriately housed.
“Since the outbreak of COVID 19, we have permitted 24/7 tent cities to spring up around our city and across our province, and the only ‘solution’ that John Horgan and the NDP have come up with is to warehouse some of the homeless population in derelict hotels without sufficient supports,” says Helme. “While the NDP is just hoping the problem will go away, we can all see that the situation is getting progressively and rapidly worse.”
“The restoration of public health and safety are my main priorities, and today’s announcement by the Leader of the B.C. Liberals, Andrew Wilkinson, will put our Province and our communities on an appropriate path forward; one that will restore public safety and address the full spectrum of issues related to homelessness.” Helme added.
Campaign Co-Chair to Elect Roxanne Helme