Skip to main content

'Great deal of compliance': Lethbridge officials tout positive result of encampment strategy


The City of Lethbridge says it has continued to see a downward trend in reporting of encampments, a lower number of total structures and less entrenched encampments as a result of its encampment strategy.

In the past month, four co-ordinated clean-ups were completed and nearly 1,600 kg of debris were collected.

Since June 19, 247 calls for encampments have been reported, with 116 identified as encampments needing various levels of support.

In total, there have been 18 co-ordinated clean-ups, with 569 structures removed and 28,608 kg of debris removed.

"We've seen a great deal of compliance with those individuals," said Andrew Malcolm, general manager of community social development with the City of Lethbridge.

"From the moment our team gets there, they're starting to pack up, they're even helping with the clean-up themselves in some instances and they know the expectations."

The city has also reallocated funding dedicated to needle debris clean-up from the Government of Alberta that will help support an increased presence of the Clean Sweep program as an integral part of the encampment response.

Through the strategy, calls are triaged according to the encampment response protocols.

The first tier involves the Clean Sweep program and city administration.

The second includes social services and outreach.

The third involves social services, outreach and police.

The latest point-in-time count showed Lethbridge had 454 individuals experiencing homelessness.

The final encampment strategy update is set for October as the cooler weather moves in, but the city says crews will still be fully staffed to respond to calls.

"We're going to turn our attention to partnering with fire and EMS to work on exploring vacant properties, as we did see an uptick in fire in those areas last year, and at which point in time we can correlate to those living rough on our streets in Lethbridge," Malcolm said.

The encampment response team will also review the first season of operations under the strategy and present key learnings and recommendations to city council in advance of implementation in spring 2024. Top Stories

Stay Connected