Homeless shelter set up underneath Vernon apartment balcony

A little too close for comfort

Residents and management of a downtown Vernon apartment building are dealing with a high number of homeless people in the neighbourhood.

On Monday, concern was raised over a shelter that had been set up underneath a first-floor balcony at the 34th Street building.

From belongings that were left behind, it appears that a man and a woman set up camp under the balcony after scaling a chain-link fence. They even got a mountain bike over the barrier.

They put up windbreaks with a tarp and blanket and even started a small warming fire against the concrete wall.

The manager of the building, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed concern about the danger of starting a fire under the deck and also for the safety of residents.

The unwanted visitors also defecated against the wall.

Police were called to the scene and the belongings removed. Meanwhile, building management is looking at reinforcing fencing around the property.

The area around Vernon's Upper Room Mission sees a large volume of street-entrenched population at all hours of the day and night.

The mission offers food, clothing and a day shelter, but does not offer overnight accommodation.

Social services also operate at the nearby People Place building, and Turning Points' supportive housing My Place project is just a couple of blocks away, making the area a hub of activity for Vernon's at-risk population.

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