Jaelyn Sullivan and other kids ride their bikes on Cliff Avenue on Wednesday after the last tent was removed.

Jaelyn Sullivan and other kids ride their bikes on Cliff Avenue on Wednesday after the last tent was removed.

Cliff Avenue homeless camp finally clear

As many as 50 people have been housed.

Cliff Avenue is clear.

The last tent, one of up to 65 that had sprung up on the residential road behind the Salvation Army, was taken down late Tuesday afternoon.

A homeless camp had lined Cliff Avenue on both sides since spring, disrupting homeowners and businesses and creating an eyesore that drew attention from across Metro Vancouver.

“I think it’s a really great day,” Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read said Tuesday.

The city leased space for a temporary homeless shelter in the former Sleep Shop building on Lougheed Highway.

It opened Oct. 1 and is operated by Rain City Housing.

“Staff and council have worked hard on this and have approached this in the best way possible to actually encourage all of the homeless citizens that were on there to move into the shelter or go into housing,” Read said.

“We’ve housed a lot of people …”

The Cliff Avenue camp was the site of late-evening fights, drug dealing, several medical calls and at least one fatal drug overdose.

By having outreach workers connect with the campers and find them housing, the city was able to avoid having to get a court order.

The city started the process of obtaining an injunction, but now won’t have to pursue that because it’s been successful in getting voluntary decampment, Read said.

She added that about 50 people have been housed by street outreach workers, connecting the homeless with shelter, rental supplements and support services.

At least 45 people have received rental supplements from B.C. Housing, so they are able to afford living in an apartment or house.

“That’s some really great work because we’ve had some of those people on the streets for really long time,” Read said.

She also said that the outreach workers are ensuring the people have what they need in order to remain housed.

“It’s pretty incredible, given what we’ve seen other cities go through.”

The B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that Abbotsford can’t prohibit people from camping in city parks.

She hopes that the people will remain in their new homes and is grateful to B.C. Housing for providing the rental supplements and outreach support.

The province is also paying the $550,000 cost to keep the city’s temporary shelter open for six months.

“I think it really makes a business case for the value of being able to get people into housing.”