COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus city leaders are moving ahead with plans to clear up homeless camps across the city.
Police recently served trespassing warnings to people living in tent camps and makeshift shelters all around the city, but advocates for the homeless are calling it an eviction for hundreds of people who have no other option.
“We should be investing in a housing-first model, which is investing in people by putting them into housing where they have a safe space, where they have a bed to sleep in, and then working with them to reintegrate them into the community in a better way,” said Emily Myers, founder of Heer to Serve, a local mutual aid group.
According to Heer to Serve, there are approximately 60 people living in one of the targeted encampments in Heer Park on the city’s south side.
“The entire time that we’ve been working with these folks, we’ve been telling them this is not a permanent solution and that was starting in July of last year, so they’ve known that this entire time,” said Seldon Goodrum with the Columbus Department of Development.
City workers said there will be a two-week period for people living in the camps to take advantage of housing options offered by the city.
According to Heer to Serve, the eviction is scheduled for June 14.
In a statement issued Tuesday from Columbus Recreation and Parks, a spokesperson said:
“Columbus Recreation and Parks Department cares significantly about every member of our community and looks to the community and our social service agencies to ensure everyone has a safe, stable place to call home. CRPD is in conversation with Metro Parks regarding plans. However, there is no update on the agenda for the property at this time.”