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Edmonton council meeting expected to declare homelessness emergency

EDMONTON — A housing and homelessness emergency is expected to be declared at a special meeting of Edmonton city council this afternoon.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi signalled the planned move in a blog post last week — the day after police dismantled the last of eight homeless encampments deemed by the city to be high risk.

If approved, Sohi plans to invite Alberta Social Services Minister Jason Nixon, federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser and Cody Thomas, grand chief of the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations, to an emergency meeting.

Nixon has said it’s dangerous for the mayor to suggest vulnerable people have nowhere to turn. 

The Coalition for Justice and Human Rights has filed a lawsuit over the city’s encampment eviction policy and is seeking an injunction to put restrictions on the city and police response to camps in certain situations, such as when temperatures get too low. 

Temperatures across Alberta have been below -30 C for nearly a week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2024.

The Canadian Press


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