News   Apr 03, 2020
 1K     0 
News   Apr 02, 2020
 2.2K     3 
News   Apr 02, 2020
 871     0 

Calgary's Homeless

CBBarnett

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
708
Reaction score
1,988
By tolerance, I mean that we shouldn't take the mere presence of poor and/or mentally ill people on the streets as a problem in and of itself. The people who hang out in front of the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre (should) have just as much right to be there as the yuppies who hang out in front of the Simmons building one block down. If there is a public safety or public health risk, that's another issue. But my sense is that when the average person says "homelessness is becoming a problem", they don't mean that rents are too high or that our health care facilities are inadequate; they mean that they don't want to be in the presence of homeless people.
I agree with this, as I suspect most seem to on here based on the comments. My original comment related to my perceived increase in violent, erratic and aggressive behaviour in summer time with a new set of user in the Victoria Park area, while many of the regular winter population of homeless seems to disappear/become less visible. People that experience homelessness have every right to all the spaces in the area, the issue is around violent and aggressive stuff at Vic Park station and stretching through to Sheldon Chumir, that has become fairly regular. This was far less prevalent in the winter months (from my perception at least, I don't know if data supports it).
 

Silence&Motion

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
1,741
Reaction score
1,665
Location
Marda Loop
Purely through hearsay, I've heard that many of Calgary's homeless travel to Vancouver during the winter because of the cold.

Another issue worth consider is that as the Beltline gets filled in with condos (who typically have private security guards), homeless people are getting pushed into fewer and fewer spaces where they form larger concentrations.
 

Cowtown

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 30, 2015
Messages
974
Reaction score
1,384
The anti-loitering law isn't used very often, it's there to be used in certain situations. sometimes police abuse it, but most of the time it's not used. There are times when it is needed however, I used to work at a Safeway and loitering was an issue, and we had customers complaining about being asked for spare change. It's not a big deal, but if it's your business and this is scaring customers away, something needs to be done. A white guy in a suit talking on his phone isn't scaring anyone away. Every once in a while the police would come out and move the people along. I never saw them give out a ticket, usually they would talk to them, and they'd leave.
In my view, bylaws that ban panhandling and loitering are really the wrong way to go. Anti-loitering laws are notorious for being selectively enforced. No middle-aged white man in a suit has ever been ticketed for loitering no matter how long he spends yapping on his cellphone at the street corner. I think the answer really is tolerance. We live in a big, busy, diverse city. There are poor people who live here. There are people with physical and mental disabilities who look and behave differently and may initially disturb us. Cities can and do find ways to erase these people from public spaces so that middle- and upper-class people don't have to look at them, think about them, or - heaven forbid - interact with them. But those people don't actually disappear - their life just gets harder. So, when a panhandler asks you for change, my advice is to say "no, sorry", then go about your day and allow them to go about their's.

Many of the homeless used to sleep under stairwells, etc in some of the older Beltline apartments, and you're right, they can't do that in the newer buildings, but is that an issue? Homeless people have a place to go where they are better off. Obviously they are free to roam around wherever they want, and I'm in board with that, but when it comes to finding a place to sleep overnight or build a temporary home, it shouldn't be in a stairwell or clump of bushes at a condo building.
Another issue worth consider is that as the Beltline gets filled in with condos (who typically have private security guards), homeless people are getting pushed into fewer and fewer spaces where they form larger concentrations.
 
Last edited:

darwink

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 7, 2016
Messages
1,465
Reaction score
2,452
I don't think many complexes have onsite security. The guardian might have enough units to do it. Same with the ones near Alpha House. My building has a resident manager, but that is a different function. Certainly they perform a 'broken windows'/eyes on the street type function that wouldn't have existed in many 8-12 unit walkups.

On CBC this morning there was a person from the Fire Department saying that the mix of drugs has changed as well, with a modified speedball becoming more common, fentanyl for the opiod addiction, meth for staying alert and helping to ensure personal security. That shift could help explain a change in behaviour, if it has indeed happened, and not just a shift in where it is happening.
 

Social Justice

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
477
Reaction score
629
By tolerance, I mean that we shouldn't take the mere presence of poor and/or mentally ill people on the streets as a problem in and of itself. The people who hang out in front of the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre (should) have just as much right to be there as the yuppies who hang out in front of the Simmons building one block down. If there is a public safety or public health risk, that's another issue. But my sense is that when the average person says "homelessness is becoming a problem", they don't mean that rents are too high or that our health care facilities are inadequate; they mean that they don't want to be in the presence of homeless people.
You're not wrong in what you say. However, let's look at this pragmatically, here's an example.

My cousin lives in Vancouver and is an art hoe hipster type. He lives close to Oppenheimer park, this park has a large homeless presence. I'd walk by there often on my way to downtown and besides every second person asking me for change I've never had a negative experience. Keep in mind I also use common sense, I'll try to avoid making eye contact to passerby's and avoid the park at night. Now, if the park was full of yuppies and their family instead, I probably wouldn't think twice about going there. Yuppies generally don't leave garbage, needles, cause disturbances and congregate in groups.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2822...4!1sd-oRPsbuyEyxDW8NR1TZ4w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

People can virtue signal all they want, but does anyone generally want to be in the presence of lots of homeless people? Would you take your SO on a date to Oppenheimer park? Would you say "Hey, let's toss around the frisbee barefoot in Oppenheimer park!" Would you hang out across from the Calgary Drop-In Centre?

I don't care if homeless people are just chilling out around places minding their own business. In fact there's a few local bums that frequent my alley. I'll strike up a conversation with them every now and then. However, I don't like it when homeless people leave garbage, needles, cause disturbances and form tent cities on sidewalks. That's when I say "Homelessness is becoming a problem" and I mostly mean it in a way that I generally don't want to be in their presence.
 
Last edited:

Cowtown

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 30, 2015
Messages
974
Reaction score
1,384
Good points. I feel for homeless people, and personally they don't really bother me. I'm not afraid of them, nor am I annoyed by them, but that said I don't generally make plans to spend time in areas with homeless people. I wouldn't for example take my kids around a place like the drop in centre. It is what it is.
The reality is sometimes homeless people can be a menace, for example last summer walking down 1st Street SW past that little strip mall on 12th there was a guy taking a leak on the side of the building. Not horrific by any means, but not a pleasure either.

You're not wrong in what you say. However, let's look at this pragmatically, here's an example.

My cousin lives in Vancouver and is an art hoe hipster type. He lives close to Oppenheimer park, this park has a large homeless presence. I'd walk by there often on my way to downtown and besides every second person asking me for change I've never had a negative experience. Keep in mind I also use common sense, I'll try to avoid making eye contact to passerby's and avoid the park at night. Now, if the park was full of yuppies and their family instead, I probably wouldn't think twice about going there. Yuppies generally don't leave garbage, needles, cause disturbances and congregate in groups.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2822...4!1sd-oRPsbuyEyxDW8NR1TZ4w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

People can virtue signal all they want, but does anyone generally want to be in the presence of lots of homeless people? Would you take your SO on a date to Oppenheimer park? Would you say "Hey, let's toss around the frisbee barefoot in Oppenheimer park!" Would you hang out across from the Calgary Drop-In Centre?

I don't care if homeless people are just chilling out around places minding their own business. In fact there's a few local bums that frequent my alley. I'll strike up a conversation with them every now and then. However, I don't like it when homeless people leave garbage, needles, cause disturbances and form tent cities on sidewalks. That's when I say "Homelessness is becoming a problem" and I mostly mean it in a way that I generally don't want to be in their presence.
 

Mountain Man

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
Messages
2,107
Reaction score
2,463
Most homeless are fine, it's the ones who are all messed up on drugs or are really bad alcoholics (basically the same thing) that cause problems. I've lived downtown for 14 years and haven't had any problems, but it is annoying to have a bunch of meth heads coming into the office or trying to sell me stolen bikes and shit. Last night there was a group of drunk natives yelling, chasing and fighting people in the alley by my place, woke me up several times. Sadly I'm moving out of downtown soon, but it will be great to be able to leave the window open with out vagrants yelling and fighting in the alley.
 

Top