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How Coquitlam is managing tenters outside a homeless shelter

Coquitlam RCMP and bylaw officers are working to discourage tenters outside the 3030 Gordon shelter.

Coquitlam RCMP and city bylaw officers are trying to keep a lid on a small tent encampment outside a transition housing and homeless shelter at 3030 Gordon Avenue.

But one local resident claims the situation is out of control.

The person, who is not revealing their name but says they have contacted the city many times, sent the Tri-City News a photo of several tents along a sidewalk.

They said they also heard yelling and fighting in the area.

When the Tri-City News drove by on Tuesday (June 6), there were no tents, but a few shopping carts with belongings — some of which looked like tents.

The area is close to the Med Ray Imaging Clinic (3001 Gordon Ave.), where people, including some older women, are coming and going.

However, on the afternoon of the Tri-City News' visit, the place was quiet. A few people were sleeping and groups of people were seeking shelter under the shade of a few trees.

Working to remove structures

In response to questions from the Tri-City News, Cathy van Poorten, City of Coquitlam social planner, said bylaw officers and members of the RCMP community enforcement team are working to remove structures.

They are also helping to connect unsheltered people with outreach workers and services.

"This is part of the ongoing efforts of RCMP and bylaw enforcement staff working in the area with people congregating around 3030 Gordon, [and] businesses in the area," van Poorten said.

Efforts are also being made to clean up abandoned items and garbage in "a timely manner," van Poorten added, and work with community partners "to respond to community needs related to homelessness."

Winter shelters that operate in churches closed March 31, while the 40-bed shelter at 3030 Gordon run by RainCity Housing is near or at capacity most nights.

Polly Krier, coordinator of the Tri-Cities Homeless and Housing Task Group, said official numbers of unhoused people from a March count won't be available until the fall.

However, while she did not have an exact count, Krier said she could "confidently say" there are "at least as many folks who are left unhoused than have beds in the Tri-Cities."

The Tri-City News has reached out to RainCity Housing for further comment and will provide more information when it becomes available.

Meanwhile, the person who originally reached out to the Tri-City News said Wednesday (June 7) there are fewer tents, but claims people are still milling about.

"Not as many tents but still some tents."