Category: Economy


Credit RT

Credit RT

{A fancy football stadium and people have to live in tents in the city…so disgusted with our system…and we’re not the only city who’s priorities are so messed up.} Social media comment

Empty lot turned into a small city of tents is a safe haven, says one inhabitant

CBC News Posted: Oct 22, 2016 4:29 PM CT Last Updated: Oct 22, 2016 4:29 PM CT

Harley Klippensteine says it's 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.

Harley Klippensteine says it’s 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)

A group of people have gathered near downtown Regina to transform an empty lot into a city of tents.

One inhabitant calls the lot — located on the 1800 block of Osler Street — a safe haven.

“[It’s] just a place where the homeless can come. You know, if you’re lonely or whatever, you’re always welcome here,” said Harley Klippensteine, one of the tent city’s inhabitants.

Klippensteine, 42, said he’s there because he is homeless and struggles with addictions such as alcoholism and drug abuse. He describes alcoholism as the main addiction.

“That’s basically why we’re all out here,” he said. “Because we all have our addictions. We can’t beat our demons or whatever.”

The struggle

Klippensteine said the area is open to anybody.

The people residing there are not protesting the lack of places for people to stay, he said.

“This is the struggle. This is what we do.”

Klippensteine said he and the others in the makeshift camp do what they can, taking odd jobs here and there.

“Without having a permanent job, how can you have a permanent place to live? So, here we are,” he said.

According to Klippensteine, the first person to set up in the lot did so in May. There are currently five of them staying in tents on the lot.

He added the group has received donations. The tents are donated, as are blankets, clothing, firewood, sleeping bags, food, coffee and water.

Osler block camp

Klippensteine says he doesn’t know how long he will remain on the lot. He said the lot is owned by Impark, but they haven’t said anything to the camp yet. (Dean Gutheil/CBC)

Uncertainty

The group knows winter is coming and they have made some preparations.

“There’s lots of blankets here. We’ve got underneath our tents, insulation-type stuff we’ve put down just to keep off the ground,” Klippensteine said.

He said does not know how long the group will remain on the lot.

According to Klippensteine, the lot is owned by Impark, who have security guards patrolling nearby parking lots. However, nothing has yet been said to them by the company.

For now, he’s just going to make the best of it while it lasts, he said.

“We’re not causing no problems or nothing like that.”

No where else to go

Klippensteine said he had been taking shelter in the nearby Salvation Army for approximately 2½ years.

He’s not on social assistance, has no steady income and is still using so he doesn’t qualify any more, he said.

He said the addictions are difficult to stop.

“It’s a main part of my life, sorry to say.”

Klippensteine said there are supports out there for those struggling with addictions.

“If you accept it, you accept it. If you don’t, you don’t. Whatever, you’re always welcome here.”

Despite his situation, Klippensteine is staying positive.

“I just hope to have a bigger bank account one day, that’s about it,” he said. “Other than that, just keep the peace, be nice to your fellow man and just do your thing, man.”

With files from CBC’s Dean Gutheil

%d bloggers like this: