by Elias Marat, Activist Post:
Homeless residents in Winnipeg are facing potentially months in the freezing cold after police in the capital of Canada’s Manitoba province tore down a number of donated warming huts.
The warming huts, which were built by students at Stonewall Collegiate and installed by community patrol group the Urban Knights and Ladies Peace Patrol, were meant to offer much-needed shelter to unhoused veterans and other people experiencing homelessness in the area.
Alina Beda, vice president of the community group, said that local organizers are crestfallen over the dismantling of the project. Beda told CTV News:
We try to help the homeless people … I try to help. I go see the homeless people. I take packages for them of clean clothes, underwear, and food for them to keep going, because I know it’s hard.
Beda had also sought permission from the indigenous Manitoba Métis Federation, whose building is adjacent to the location where they erected the structures. She added:
It was heartbreaking when we just found out … We went to see the Métis Nation because they were just beside, and we talked to the homeless people, and they were very excited, very happy about it. They said it was a very good idea, so I don’t know what the city had a problem with.
Police always claim that they’re not political actors and just fulfill mandates laid out in laws. Yet somehow they always seem to ignore the mass intoxication at gentrifying events like Whiteout parties and infractions by their pals on the police board. https://t.co/7kwsWzVL8u
— Winnipeg Police Cause Harm (@WpgPoliceHarm) December 5, 2019
However, city officials accused the groups of building the shelters on city property without seeking clearance from the municipal government or even notifying the city about the humanitarian project. Police claim that they had no luck attempting to reach the community groups, whom they accuse of ignoring city regulations around water, sewers, and “tiny homes.”