Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tent Township Ends at Noon Friday

Police Deliver Deadline to Those Sleeping in the Tents

After stories in the Plain Dealer today and the Free Times yesterday, the Police finally delivered the message to those living near the Brown's stadium that they had to move. The Third District Police went to the walking bridge today and told everyone sleeping at the site that they had until noon on Friday to leave or face arrest. Again, I never understood why the City was not honest and just said that they need the space for an event. They gave notice. They own the property. They do not want to encourage people sleeping outside, and there is space in the overflow shelter. This dodge and weave about safety was not believable since these guys spent much of the winter outside.

We have learned for the future that we will have to have police or city officials go down and carry the message first before we intervene from now on. The guys who sleep in the tents viewed us as the bad guys these past few weeks. They were getting conflicting messages from some mystery person who said that they could stay. Then the deadline came and went on Monday and still no reply from the City. Finally, today four days after the deadline the police showed up to force a relocation of these guys. So, this made us look like we were making up stories. That is until today, when the police intervened. We miss Commander Gonzalez from the Third Police District. He was very skilled at keeping all of us on the same page in previous relocations. He was very good about setting deadlines and sticking to his word. He made sure that the social services were in place and that they helped relocate people. There were even two people who got into housing with the relocation at the airport. I am sure that he is doing good things at CMHA, but we needed someone from the City to get that huge bureaucracy of the various city departments all on the same page.

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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