The work from Camp Hope continues after disbandment

Former coordinators from Camp Hope have been “healing and unpacking” since the tent village disbanded.

“We were always on edge; we were always on guard and it’s hard to wind down,” said Shylo Stevenson, one of eight former coordinators. “So that’s why many of us I say suffer from a form of PTSD and I was diagnosed with PTSD as an emergency services worker.

A picture of Shylo Stevenson.

“But it’s just that mental, physical strain and that loss of family time because we were doing what was the right thing but not realizing the impact it had on our relationships or parents or you know, it wore us out.”

Camp Hope was a temporary shelter for homeless people and addicts near downtown Regina. It was open for two months and disbanded in November.

The issue of addiction and homelessness did not end with this move.

“The people who benefited from the camp being set up, and who had access to the temporary shelter, still make up a relatively small percentage of the people that are impacted by issues of poverty and housing insecurity,” said Peter Gilmer from Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry.

A picture of Peter Gilmer.

Stevenson and the other coordinators are still volunteering and helping the remaining residents deal with addictions, housing and food.

“The organizers of the camp are continuing their work with the people that they worked with,” said Gilmer. “They’ve helped develop a core of activists who, you know, I’m sure will continue to do great work in the community.”

Currently there are not enough hands helping.

“When we were at camp, we were in the spotlight, everybody wanted to help,” said Stevenson.

“Once it got moved, and moved indoors, they thought the problem was solved.”

“We had about 170 people in camp, and 40 beds open at the new shelter. So, there’s still about 130 people that are unaccounted for. As a volunteer, it’s very discouraging and disheartening that we have that out-of-sight, out-of-mind concept, because many of us are still involved, and committed to making this a better place for people,”

The people volunteering now use their own money to support the residents.

“It feels like our community moved on to other things now,” said Stevenson. “We had $30,000 raised for animal shelters in one day, we didn’t even get that amount for humans in the city. These are the challenges that we face.”

The drug use has also increased because they don’t have the community like they did at the camp. Overdoses have continued.

“Since camp, we’ve lost three people that were at camp,” said Stevenson. “If we were still in camp, they would still be here because of other people being around when they’re using or the tools needed to help them.”

Another challenge is volunteers are not allowed into the new facility, because of rules set by the Regina Treaty/Indian Services.

“Camp Hope really raised the profile of the issue of homelessness, which has been a problem for well over a decade,” said Gilmer.

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