Vancouver’s last 2 homeless camps cost the city $6M, the cost of 2 more has yet to be calculated

A pair of longstanding homeless encampments in the City of Vancouver have cost taxpayers more than $6 million since 2018, data obtained by Global News shows. And with

people still living in tents in two more encampments along Hastings Street and in CRAB Park, the new civic government says reducing ongoing cash flow won’t happen overnight.

City records obtained by Global News and in response to a Vancouver Police Department freedom of information request revealed more than $3.5 million in services and costs

associated with the 18-month Oppenheimer Park encampment from October 2018 to June 2020. That figure excludes fire costs, which are estimated to be at least $363,400, for

enforcing the fire chief’s order in 2019. The estimated city-wide total costs of the Strathcona Park encampment from June 2020 to Oct. 2021 are $2.2 million, according to

the city. Strathcona’s price tag includes $620,000 spent by the Vancouver Park Board to remediate five-plus hectares of the East Vancouver greenspace in the six

months after the 10-month encampment ended in April 2021. Strathcona Residents Association vice-president Katie Lewis said the human costs are much higher. “People

died you know, as a result of those encampments,” Lewis told Global News in an interview Thursday. “That is way bigger than any number could be.” Last May, a man was

murdered in CRAB Park, and the ongoing encampment there saw a mass stabbing in October and a major tent fire in December. An innocent man was also murdered in the previous

Oppenheimer Park encampment. The same encampment also was the scene of a shooting and what Vancouver police described as a "horrific" sexual assault.