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City collaborating with front-line agencies to begin vacated encampment cleanup

The City of Saint John has begun a clean-up effort of abandoned encampment sites on City-owned property. The effort is being undertaken with the support and collaboration of front-line agencies through the Homelessness Information Partnership of Saint John (HIPSJ). The community can expect to see the first of several abandoned sites cleaned this week, beginning April 19, with more to take place in the coming weeks and months.

“This is a highly collaborative effort, with our immediate focus being the cleanup of abandoned sites only,” says Lisa Caissie, Director of External Relations. “As part of the process, site visits are conducted by HIPSJ to determine whether encampment areas are occupied or abandoned. Once they are deemed abandoned, notices are posted in advance to notify anyone who may enter the area, and a cleanup is then initiated on a designated date and time.”

Front-line service providers with HIPSJ will be on-site for each cleanup to help identify any items that may be salvaged. 

“Two sites are slated for cleanup this week and, as others are monitored and communication with HIPSJ continues, additional areas will be identified,” adds Caissie.

Working with the Province of New Brunswick, efforts are expected to be expanded in the coming weeks to include abandoned encampments on Provincially owned properties.

All clean up efforts will be conducted by a contracted service provider to ensure professional, safe handling practices of potential biohazardous materials.

For occupied encampments, the City helps with regular site cleanliness.

“We’ve been providing garbage bags for residents of occupied encampments and crews regularly collect anything that’s placed at the curb. Working with HIPSJ, additional supports, such as sharps containers, rakes and gloves for safe clean up purposes are also being explored.”  

Sites that are on private properties are the responsibility of the property owner(s).

The City asks the community to remain understanding under the circumstances, to avoid conducting their own cleanup efforts of encampment sites, and to maintain a safe and respectful distance from sites where crews are working.

Safe, affordable housing is the cornerstone of a healthy community

The City has been working collaboratively with the Province of New Brunswick, Government of Canada, and non-profit affordable housing partners to address housing solutions in Saint John. Affordable housing is an issue that challenges communities across Canada. While the need for safe, affordable housing is complex, the City remains steadfast in fostering better outcomes for all residents. In 2022, Saint John adopted an Affordable Housing Action Plan that includes 40 actions endorsed by Common Council. Several of the actions are already underway. To learn more, visit: Affordable Housing Action Plan | City of Saint John, New Brunswick