BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The city moves in and moves out dozens of homeless people who had set up camp under the Jones Falls Expressway.
Christie Ileto reports the city claims the soggy makeshift campsites are a breeding ground for crime and drug activity.
It’s Anthony Worley’s bed, transportation and wheelchair, and Friday night, he’s looking for another place to park it. The city has now cleared out Worley and dozens of others sleeping under the JFX.
“I’m not even going to lie to you, I’m mad as hell. I’m mad as hell. You just can’t throw people around like they’re dogs, trash and that,” Worley said.
“The people who had been camping there were aware that this was going to happen. Outreach workers had spoken with them,” said Connor Scott, deputy director emergency manager.
Baltimore has long struggled with finding a permanent solution for its almost 4,000 homeless population.
“The best thing that we can do is to make sure we connect these people with the resources that they need,” Scott said.
That means shelters and giving out vouchers for affordable housing. But some say it’s not that simple.
“You give a homeless person a housing voucher. If he ain’t got money to pay the second, the third, the fourth month rent, he homeless again,” Dwayne Davis, Baltimore Eclipse.
Advocates for the homeless say clearing them of their makeshift homes is counterproductive. The big question is what happens if and when they come back?
“If they do choose to come back to the same spot or other spots, we’ll have that conversation then,” said Scott. “It’s trying to figure out what’s the root problem here that’s making them come back and how can we make sure they’re connected to the resources that really are readily available to them.”
Meanwhile, for those who called under the JFX home:
“Being under here, police will come and say you’re trespassing and then you got to spend 24 hours in Central Booking for not having nowhere to go,” said Jeremiah Crudup, homeless.
The city says trash and other personal belongings will be taken to a facility in Cherry Hill, where they can be reclaimed.
The city says they will ask the city housing authority for an additional 150 housing vouchers for the homeless.
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