Re: Open letter concerning Homeless/Vagrants in the Upper Room Mission area
I live in the Upper Room Mission area, and have since August 2006.
When we moved into this area, there was a lot of drugs and prostitution. At the height of this, the Upper Room Mission had also placed a portable outhouse in the back of their property, in an effort to help the homeless/vagrants. That turned out to be a bad idea, and it was removed after it became the focal point of who was the “king of hill” situation.
The RCMP also started a Red Zone, and this cut down on the return of 90 per cent of the issues. This area was cleaned up further with the vacating of a couple of drug houses in close proximity.
This past weekend, Friday, Sept. 14 to Monday, Sept. 17, it was almost as bad as that time in 2006. The homeless/vagrants have overrun the area.
I have two children that need to walk in this area to get to and from school. I fear for their safety.
I have also had to install a security system in the house, with a camera on the outside, due to an attempted break-in not so long ago. There was also an attempt at the neighbouring house the next night.
I understand the mission of the Upper Room Mission to offer food and comfort to the homeless/vagrants in need, but the camping out on private and public property, the mess left behind, and the overwhelming disregard for the public’s safety (walking or riding across the roadway without looking) is too much.
I am a professional driver with 26 years in a commercial unit and almost on a weekly basis, I have had close calls with the homeless/vagrants when driving to or from home.
City Bylaw Officers can only deal with these persons while on public property, and the RCMP have have been given permission to remove these persons from private property without a call from the property owners.
The City of Vernon needs to extend bylaw patrols to 24 hours per day in this area, as once the RCMP remove the persons from private property, and leave the area, the homeless/vagrants then occupy public property, where the RCMP have no jurisdiction.
In short, this area needs to be cleaned up again, before anyone is seriously hurt.