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Thread: Whyte Avenue homeless discussion.

  1. #1

    Unhappy Whyte Avenue homeless discussion.

    Good heavens, the hobos are out in full force now that the weather is nice. Every single bench or place where it's possible to sit is now covered with the butts of at least four homeless at any given time, all of them making catcalls or comments towards passerby. This is exactly the sort of thing the Downtown Business Association is cracking down on.

    On a more pleasant note, that donut van that's popped up by MKT is really awesome.

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    My counterpart in Old Strathcona has mentioned that it seems worse than ever in that regard.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    My counterpart in Old Strathcona has mentioned that it seems worse than ever in that regard.
    It's revved up in part because the Arena District has undergone a major change, and there are cops there whose entire JOB is to shuffle hobos on out of the way. Many of them have ended up in Strathcona, where there's no shelter or anything (just the new Neighbor Centre). But it's a minefield out there- I don't even go to Macs at night anymore, because you're GUARANTEED to encounter a pack of them, and at least one of them will have a smart mouth.

  4. #4

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    So Downtown gets rid of those deemed undesirable while complaining that they're not getting enough from the city despite all the money that they city has poured into a relatively underpopulated area. They need parks within a block or two of every person working downtown. Where people are actually advocating that they city subsidize grocery stores downtown because Save-On is too far to walk. And they don't want to use a bus or cab or Uber to get home with their groceries. Where IanO railed against the downtown FREE LRT because if something is free, people don't appreciate it. And yet free city sponsored movies in Churchill or city sponsored festivals like The Works are perfectly alright.

    All neighbourhoods are equal but some are more equal than others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabroniville View Post
    They're removing them from the AREA, not just the arena itself. Ie. Harass and bug hobos so they don't loiter anyone NEAR that area.

    It's a public relations kind of thing- business owners don't want vagrants wandering around harassing passerby, and it'd be a black eye for the city to have their shiny new tax-sink fail to change the reputation of downtown. The problem is, those people just shuffle on down to Whyte.
    This is factually untrue.

    Also, YESS is active and supporting those on Whyte.
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  6. #6

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    Who has spoken to the city and gotten a positive response. And there's a numbder of downtowners here who have all said that Save-On is simply too far for them to go for their groceries.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabroniville View Post
    They're removing them from the AREA, not just the arena itself. Ie. Harass and bug hobos so they don't loiter anyone NEAR that area.

    It's a public relations kind of thing- business owners don't want vagrants wandering around harassing passerby, and it'd be a black eye for the city to have their shiny new tax-sink fail to change the reputation of downtown. The problem is, those people just shuffle on down to Whyte.
    This is factually untrue.

    Also, YESS is active and supporting those on Whyte.
    did you miss all those news reports about increased homeless presence elsewhere, entirely because of the arena? I think the Journal did a ride-along with police where this was explained.

    And YESS serves mainly kids, does it not? Also, it's a ways from the heart of Strathcona.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabroniville View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabroniville View Post
    They're removing them from the AREA, not just the arena itself. Ie. Harass and bug hobos so they don't loiter anyone NEAR that area.

    It's a public relations kind of thing- business owners don't want vagrants wandering around harassing passerby, and it'd be a black eye for the city to have their shiny new tax-sink fail to change the reputation of downtown. The problem is, those people just shuffle on down to Whyte.
    This is factually untrue.

    Also, YESS is active and supporting those on Whyte.
    did you miss all those news reports about increased homeless presence elsewhere, entirely because of the arena? I think the Journal did a ride-along with police where this was explained.

    And YESS serves mainly kids, does it not? Also, it's a ways from the heart of Strathcona.
    YESS serves youth only. They operate the Arc at the former Armoury which is a drop-in centre closing at 4 daily for youth up to 24 years old. I think they’re usually open on weekends. Then there is their overnight shelter, Nexus, for youth up to 21 years old. YESS also operates a few long term residences in the city. Another drop-on Centre is the Old Strathcona Youth Society for homeless, street involved and otherwise vulnerable youth ages 14-24 years.

    There are no adult shelters on the south side of the river.

  9. #9

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    Yeah, that's what I thought. The homeless I'm talking about are CLEARLY too old to be there, unless their lifestyle has aged them 20+ years or something. Most of them are pretty cracked and boozed out, but not to THAT level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabroniville View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabroniville View Post
    They're removing them from the AREA, not just the arena itself. Ie. Harass and bug hobos so they don't loiter anyone NEAR that area.

    It's a public relations kind of thing- business owners don't want vagrants wandering around harassing passerby, and it'd be a black eye for the city to have their shiny new tax-sink fail to change the reputation of downtown. The problem is, those people just shuffle on down to Whyte.
    This is factually untrue.

    Also, YESS is active and supporting those on Whyte.
    did you miss all those news reports about increased homeless presence elsewhere, entirely because of the arena? I think the Journal did a ride-along with police where this was explained.

    And YESS serves mainly kids, does it not? Also, it's a ways from the heart of Strathcona.
    I sit on the Arena Benefits Committee and work directly with BSCS, REACH etc. and while some might feel that way, the general consensus is that it has not had a materially negative impact. Does it have more of a focus for EPS and security because of what it is and does that make some feel like they do not want to be around the area any longer, sure, but did it gentrify and displace like people assumed it would, not really, no.
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  11. #11

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    yes actually it has, and will continue to do so. The ice district isn't even open yet. Phase 2 is still a long term vision, but as Phase 2 pushes north of the arena, you can bet your S2000 that this will push up rents in the area, and push the existing lower income people out. Absolutely. 100% it will, and has already begun. Even 101street north of 104 avenue is gentrifying. New shops/restaurants, etc now looking to serve different clientile than that street served in the past. Heck, even one of gintys favorite shi-tholes pubs is closing down, or has already.
    Last edited by Medwards; 26-06-2018 at 09:04 AM.

  12. #12

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    I cross through immediately north of the Arena, in front of BSCS and between the Spady Centre and the Herb Jamison Centre twice a day.

    There's been little change. The biggest is there are now bigger sidewalks and a bit more order in front of BSCS. The same crowds still gather, rough sleepers still rough sleep in the same places and in the same numbers, people still ask for smokes.

    Displacement by the ice district so far consists of Greyhound relocating and the Grand/Crash hotel re-positioning. That's it. The MacDonald Lofts had been descending into squalor since the low-budget renovation 20+ years ago, it would be due for a re-do now regardless of Katz' purchase.
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    Pardon my skepticism of a group entitled "The Arena BENEFITS Committee" reporting accurately about negative impacts of said arena. What a laffer!!

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    I am corrected in the groups name, but that was the original.

    https://www.edmonton.ca/attractions_...committee.aspx
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  16. #16

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    Note that it's not a consulting group. It's one that simply informs the neighbourhood about what they're doing, regardless of the impact.

    Promote communication between groups involved in and affected by the Downtown Arena
    Keep community members informed about the project
    Identify impacts, opportunities and benefits for the downtown community, including local residents, businesses, and social agencies
    Develop ideas and recommendations to improve impacts on the community
    Basically, "We're going to do what's best for us and just keep you informed about it with no input on your part"

    Much like when City Council changed the parking policy to allow Katz to operate a parking lot in the area north of the arena. A relatively small payoff to the community while Katz pocked the profits. You want to get exempted from the "no parking lots" policy? OK, but you're not allowed to profit off of it. Any profits from the lot will have to be donated to the community that has to deal with yet another surface parking lot.

    What a joke.

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    Actually, it is a two-way committee with a lot of direct input from both sides.
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  18. #18

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    With one side having the power. Consultation for appearances sake only. "That affects our bottom line too much, so no to your proposal"

    "A downtown for everyone that we like and that can afford it. Everyone else, get out. Go to Whyte or someplace we don't have to worry about or even see you"

  19. #19

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    The other side of the coin is the local opposition in both neighbourhoods on either side of the river for appropriate services and housing for these folks, as well as years of little help from upper levels of government.
    Live and love... your neighbourhood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkozoriz View Post
    With one side having the power. Consultation for appearances sake only. "That affects our bottom line too much, so no to your proposal"

    "A downtown for everyone that we like and that can afford it. Everyone else, get out. Go to Whyte or someplace we don't have to worry about or even see you"
    Not quite my friend.
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  21. #21

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    I biked past the north side of the arena today at lunch. Still plenty of people hanging on the sidewalk by Boyle Street Community Services, across the street from that, and even onto the benches by the community rink. I'm guessing the "exclusion zone" the police are maintaining is on 104 ave and south.

  22. #22

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    Yeah, "exclusion zone"


  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ustauk View Post
    I biked past the north side of the arena today at lunch. Still plenty of people hanging on the sidewalk by Boyle Street Community Services, across the street from that, and even onto the benches by the community rink. I'm guessing the "exclusion zone" the police are maintaining is on 104 ave and south.
    Pretty much. Cops I know have told me around the arena is "man-to-man policing" (ie. "A cop for every person"). The Arena is a HUGE part of the Iveson mandate, and the city is going out of its way to keep that area looking clean and nice to visit (ie. no hobos). The homeless shelters up just a few blocks are of course going to be there a while, but homeless won't be allowed to loiter around the arena itself, nor the businesses nearby. And they know it.

    With reports that other businesses downtown are trying to get rid of loiterers and troublemakers (they insist it's not "just about the homeless", which means that we know it absolutely is) means that businesses downtown, probably tired after YEARS of renovations and roadwork have killed their profits, are raising a bigger stink than ever about the area. So obviously the troubled populations are moving elsewhere.

  24. #24

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    "A downtown for everyone"

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkozoriz View Post
    "A downtown for everyone"
    They mean everyone except the poor and homeless. DUH .

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    YESS and OSYS support youth at risk, but we have limited resources supporting marginalized adults in Old Strathcona. And I'm the counterpart that Ian mentioned. We've seen an increase in marginalized population in the area.

    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabroniville View Post
    They're removing them from the AREA, not just the arena itself. Ie. Harass and bug hobos so they don't loiter anyone NEAR that area.

    It's a public relations kind of thing- business owners don't want vagrants wandering around harassing passerby, and it'd be a black eye for the city to have their shiny new tax-sink fail to change the reputation of downtown. The problem is, those people just shuffle on down to Whyte.
    This is factually untrue.

    Also, YESS is active and supporting those on Whyte.

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    I consider it healthy for that community to be in several places in Edmonton, not just in one "homeless district" which makes the average Edmontonian feel better. I consider it a coming of age for the city when there is a visual homeless presence in what is considered a gentrified area like Whyte Avenue, without impacting it's appeal and cratering housing prices. When people realize it's an Edmonton issue and not just a Downtown East issue, then stigma becomes easier to address. No area in Edmonton is "too good" for this.

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    It is not solely the arena district that has caused many homeless people to be more visible in neighbourhoods. Over the last 5 years many low end motels (glorified rooming houses) have closed; the list includes: International, York, Royal, Cromdale, Cecil, Grand and Transit to name only a few. Plus many low end bars have been shut down by Liquor and Gaming. That is what has caused the large influx more than anything.

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    There's also the opioid crisis going on. That's a huge factor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Downtown View Post
    I consider it a coming of age for the city when there is a visual homeless presence in what is considered a gentrified area like Whyte Avenue, without impacting it's appeal and cratering housing prices.
    My wife works on East Whyte, and they've definitely lost business due to the homeless population. Some people, especially women, don't feel safe when there are groups of them hanging around. I've never had a problem with them personally.
    They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?

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    When businesses are starting to lose business, and patrons don't feel safe, it's an issue that needs addressing. We'll be working with the Mustard Seed and other social services groups to look at options for supporting the marginalized, as it's a growing concern.

  32. #32

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    The homeless were a problem along Whyte since at least when I had a condo around there nearly 20 years ago. It was making the news enough that one of the churches opened as an overnight shelter. Remember those parking meters re-purposed to collect donations rather than have people being panhandled?
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

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    I know this isn't a new issue, but I'm hearing that the population has changed from being predominantly youth to more adults, and an overall increase. I wasn't aware of the re-purposing of parking meters, but that's a great idea! Too bad there are no more meters.

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    I think people start to feel unsafe when they see a large group hanging around. One or two isn't a problem, you say hi, they say hi, and you move on. When there's a group of 5 or 6 of them is when people start to take a different route, or look at moving their business elsewhere. The spots that come to mind are the benches at the bus stop between 102-103 st, the park across from the public washrooms, the cement barrier alongside the road by H2O lounge, and the benches on Whyte and 100 st. Those are the gathering places along that part of Whyte, and I'd have to say I can't recall ever seeing a non-homeless person using those benches to sit on. Remove those and replace them with something that you can't sit on and I think the problem will move on as well.

    It's not about clearing them out of the area, it's about making it more difficult for them to form large groups that sit around and possibly harass people. I fully support having services for them in the area.
    They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherklass View Post
    I know this isn't a new issue, but I'm hearing that the population has changed from being predominantly youth to more adults, and an overall increase. I wasn't aware of the re-purposing of parking meters, but that's a great idea! Too bad there are no more meters.
    It's definitely more adults. The kids, I can handle. YESS Kids keep to themselves and don't start anything. But we're seeing armies of adults camping out by the public washroom, which by now is pretty clearly a disaster for the neighborhood.

    I've lived in the neighborhood for 18 years, so I know it's always been an issue. But this is like nothing I've ever seen. 7-8 homeless in one spot is crazy, and unfair to anyone trying to make an honest living nearby. People will stay away from those shops. I used to make late night Macs runs all the time - now it feels blatantly unsafe.
    Last edited by Jabroniville; 04-07-2018 at 10:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    There's also the opioid crisis going on. That's a huge factor.
    Which used to get predictable stuff... not it is heroin.
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    There is big gang activity on the Avenue. Red Alert in particular. There is good reason to be cautious. OSYS saw the number of individual youth increase by 30% in May and the average age of youth accessing the centre drop from 21.1 years to 19.3 years. There have been a lot of new faces, young ones, many with serious mental health and addiction issues. A 16 year old homeless addict is an easy target for gangs.

  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by etownboarder View Post
    There is big gang activity on the Avenue. Red Alert in particular. There is good reason to be cautious. OSYS saw the number of individual youth increase by 30% in May and the average age of youth accessing the centre drop from 21.1 years to 19.3 years. There have been a lot of new faces, young ones, many with serious mental health and addiction issues. A 16 year old homeless addict is an easy target for gangs.
    Yeah, I recall seeing a scrap between some Middle Eastern guys and Red Alert near where the Circle K is now, one of the kids jumping up with "Red Alert, all day, every DAY!". Though I haven't seen many gang-looking kids otherwise.

    The last time this became a bigger problem, the Strathcona Business Association raised the issue with the police, who ramped up policing in the area- it's really time this happened again. Last time they talked, they got the police to wear vests, so business would feel that the police were more visible. They've obviously stopped wearing those since then .

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    7-11 coming to the Raymond Block - no good news will come out of this.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  40. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    7-11 coming to the Raymond Block - no good news will come out of this.
    Good heavens, no. The Macs by the public washroom, the Circle K, and the 99th Street Macs are all routinely swarmed with them. Having a 7-11 right in the middle of that huge building will be a big problem, and a black eye for the brand new location. I imagine business owners are going to be riding the police pretty hard during the first few months.

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    Where's this Circle K you keep talking about? I've been up and down Whyte Ave hundreds of times and I don't know where you're talking about.
    They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?

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    not quite sure myself...but "strange things are afoot at the circle K" Bill and Ted ..lol

  43. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gord Lacey View Post
    Where's this Circle K you keep talking about? I've been up and down Whyte Ave hundreds of times and I don't know where you're talking about.
    The center Macs (by the Subway) changed to a Circle K at some point, probably during their recent reno. I just happened to notice the change one day.

  44. #44

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    I was talking with one of the cops in the area the other day, and he directly blamed the arena for sending all the people moving down our way. He also said "there's a lot of youth in the area up to no good", so I guess he's blaming the YESS Kids, too .

    I notice that it's usually much better for that on Friday & Saturday- it's the non-weekend nights where you suddenly see groups of troublemakers congregating.

  45. #45

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    On the bright side (for me, anyway) my neighborhood just north of the arena has been much better this summer, now that troublemakers have been forced to go elsewhere. Still lots of homeless, but it has been quieter and the neighborhood feels a lot safer.

  46. #46

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    Lived in 2 spots downtown from 2003-2014. In both areas the homeless and "able-bodies-but-don't-feel-like-working" crowd got more and more common and continually increased. The final straw was when my condo manager had to put a chain and lock on the dumpsters to keep them out, and we all needed a key to throw out our garbage. Even THEN, they still hung out in the alley and asked for money and smokes from anyone throwing out their trash.

    Moved to Terwillegar in 2014 but after a year they started appearing along 23rd Ave and Rabbit Hill Road thanks to the LRT station at the southern end of the line, and it spread...

    We moved to the west edge of town in the suburbs in 2015. No LRT nearby, no malls, no large centers for them to be attracted to, not easy to walk or bike to (outside of the Henday). The only people wandering around anywhere NEAR my neighborhood are my neighbors jogging and walking their dogs or going for a bike ride. Couldn't be happier.

    I've gone downtown MAYBE a dozen times in the last 4 years. I will not go there anymore unless I absolutely HAVE to. I no longer have the patience for the noise, the beggars, punks, lack of parking/overpriced parking, traffic congestion etc... I've got everything I need within a couple minutes commute for groceries etc. Plenty of clean parks to walk in with empty benches, no homeless, no garbage, and I don't have to worry about the wife going for a walk alone.

  47. #47

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    Yeah, I can't even imagine downtown, which had the REALLY rough-looking hobos, and I lived on Whyte for that whole span! But similar-looking undesirables are starting to make Whyte their routine hangouts, especially on "low-traffic" days. That bathroom is basically a public health risk at this point, almost never without at least 5-10 homeless milling around, often arguing with each other or causing a disturbance of some kind. It was embarrassing having that thing right next to the ice carving festival in the winter, with the organizers/hosts having to sheepishly tell the spectators not to use the PUBLIC WASHROOM available literally next door, because it was unsafe.

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