Shopping Carts

Use and abandonment of shopping carts in Red Deer has increased. Some people experiencing homelessness use shopping carts as a way to store belongings and transport things from point A to point B. These carts sometimes represent the last efforts of homeless people to keep what little belongings they have: their blankets and tarps, extra clothing, bottles and cans, for example.

In Red Deer, we do not have a safe, secure place for people to store carts and their belongings while they access the services and supports they need.

The numbers:

  • A local contractor collects approximately 200 to 250 carts per month.
  • City staff collect approximately 100 shopping carts per month.
  • In both cases, these shopping carts are returned to businesses, when possible.

Actions we are taking right now:

  • Downtown parks crews remove an average of two to three abandoned carts per week and return them to nearby businesses, when possible.
  • In some cases, private businesses have implemented technology, such as locking wheels, to prevent individuals from taking carts off their property.
  • The temporary winter warming centre will open on November 15, which offers very limited space for individuals to store their personal belongings.

Long term strategies:

  • Red Deer City Council continues to press the Province of Alberta for funding of local daytime support services within a 24/7 shelter with on-site services. To date, the Province of Alberta has not supported or funded this initiative.
  • Continued implementation of the Everyone’s Home: Red Deer Five Year Plan to End Homelessness 2014 to 2018 is aimed at ensuring those who are homeless have permanent, appropriate housing and the supports they need within 28 days of presenting for services within the system. A review of this has not yet been conducted.

The City is currently working with local agencies and businesses to minimize the use and abandonment of shopping carts. This includes, but is not limited to, encouraging businesses to collect and store shopping carts in a secure fashion to minimize theft.

Related Links

Housing and Homelessness