Charity expresses concerns for well-being of people sleeping in empty lot

CBC News Posted: Oct 27, 2016 4:12 PM CT Last Updated: Oct 27, 2016 4:12 PM CT

People have been sleeping at a tent city in an empty lot on Osler Street in Regina.

People have been sleeping at a tent city in an empty lot on Osler Street in Regina. (Dean Gutheil/CBC)

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The Salvation Army in Regina has issued a statement clarifying its policy on accepting people who are under the influence into the Waterston Centre men’s shelter.

The statement comes after members of the homeless community started a “tent city” in an empty lot on Osler Street.

One of the tent city’s inhabitants, Harley Klippensteine, told CBC News last week he didn’t qualify to stay at the Salvation Army shelter.

He said that was because he was not on social assistance, had no steady income and was struggling with addiction.

Harley Klippensteine

Harley Klippensteine says the tent city is just an empty lot next to a burned down building, but it’s also a safe haven for the homeless and those struggling with addiction. (Dean Gutheil/CBC)

On Thursday, the Salvation Army said it was concerned for the health and well-being of people sleeping outside as temperatures started to drop.

It said the Waterston Centre men’s shelter did not refuse entry to people who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or those who were struggling with addiction.

skpic waterston centre regina

The Salvation Army says its Waterston Centre in Regina accepts clients who are under the influence or are struggling with addiction. (CBC)

“If a person is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others in the facility, then a referral will be made to a local detox centre,” it said in a statement.

“The Salvation Army seeks to promote the dignity of all people, and as such, we encourage anyone residing in
a tent or elsewhere in the cold to come inside and accept a warm bed and a hot meal.”

It said it was working with Regina Social Services and other community partners to provide shelter for people who need it.