Edmonton libraries spent $1.5 million in 2022 dealing with results of social disorder

Almost $1.5 million in Edmonton Public Library (EPL) funding went to dealing with the effects of homelessness, addiction and mental illness in 2022, according to a preliminary report from the city.

The report contains rough data up to about Dec. 6, 2022, and says since there is usually an increase in incidents during the winter months, the numbers are expected to be slightly worse than what the report says.

The money goes toward security, naloxone, washroom attendants, outreach workers and responding to opioid overdoses. Some also goes to “incident management,” which the report defines as time spent on dealing with disorder, which added up to the equivalent of a full-time job.

The province has closed multiple supervised consumption sites across the province, instead choosing a recovery-centred approach. There are currently three supervised consumption sites in Edmonton. The province says there has been no reduction in service capacity, saying hours have increased at supervised consumption sites in the city.

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