Large Richmond homeless encampment given notice to vacate

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On March 5, city crews posted signs at a growing homeless encampment at 22nd Street and Carlson Blvd. warning that the camp will be abated on March 18.

An estimated 70 people living in a growing homeless encampment in Richmond were given notice by the city today that they have until March 18 to vacate.

The tent encampment at 22nd Street and Carlson Boulevard, across the street from the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, is posing significant health and safety risks to occupants and to others in surrounding areas, such as rodent infestation and mounting debris, and has been a drain on city resources, said Tim Higares, the director of Richmond’s Department of Infrastructure and Maintenance Operations.

City crews posted signs at the camp Monday warning about the March 18 abatement date. The effort is being done in coordination with county health and homeless services officials. A Coordinated Outreach Referral, Engagement (C.O.R.E.) program team was set to offer shelter and services to occupants, Higares said. GRIP is available to assist, and a warming center is being established in North Richmond, he added.

“We come out here at least three times a week to clean this up,” Higares said. “We’ve cleaned up over 5 tons of material since December.”

Among the debris there Monday were buckets of urine and hypodermic needles.

There were plans to close the camp in December, but a rodent infestation got in the way, Higares said. County health officials needed to determine whether any contamination from the infestation had affected campers. Last week, the city was given clearance to move forward with abatement. Higares said the vector problem is “only going to get worse.”

The problem has persisted despite an effort launched by Richmond Mayor Tom Butt in December to clean up the site. Occupants of the encampment participated in that effort. The mayor is currently trying to raise $1.5 million to build a designated encampment in the city staffed with services and resources.

Sedzi McNair, who says he’s stayed at the encampment and that his sister currently lives there, was concerned for the occupants.

“They’re treated like dirt,” he said. “The city comes and says, Move your stuff. What’s next? “Ain’t no telling where their next meal will come from. Having to fend for yourself out here, that’s not an easy job to do.”

McNair said he was also worried about what might happen with sole possessions of the occupants at the encampment. Higares said when the city comes to vacate the site on March 18, it will offer to provide temporary storage for occupants’ items.

“While abatement of an encampment of this size is a difficult and challenging step to take, the severity of the issues present there have led to the decision to move forward,” Higares said in a city statement.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe they can move them to East County? There is more land, warmer weather and cheaper construction costs for the county to build permanent encampments.

  2. Good thing they are getting rid of this eyesore. I understand people have hard times, but don’t make our city look like s@#!.

  3. I think they should go I’ve been living in Richmond all my life I own several houses pay hella taxes I do not appreciate them living there and being where they are growing up in Richmond all I can remember is 2 homeless people in the area all my life this is ridiculous the trash that they have I don’t even like driving down that street and the things in the trash that they have is not even there’s it’s the trash that they pick up from everybody else’s garbage let them go and get there life straight I don’t appreciate it please get them out of their its unhealthy and they need to get their life right the question is how many of them is Richmond residence I’m appalled by the trash and the peopleI was planning to go down and protest with my city council this cannot happen if you live one come then they all come that’s how I came up to 70 people stop it and shut it down now

  4. And if Tom butt support says I should not vote for you ever ever again this is ridiculous if you can’t get a grip on it closed down all the soup kitchens that’s where the posting up at I don’t want to drive down the street and see a whole bunch of homeless people and a bunch of trash it’s not right fix it I don’t want to spend another dollar on this I pay too many taxes I can’t take

    • Well don’t go down that street you sit there fuss about it and letting it be known that you pay taxes if you have such a problem with it then shut up and do your part for your city. Closing all the soups kitchens would make crimes Happen more how could anymore speak like that

  5. how about all these abandoned buildings that we have in Richmond someone open them up for the homeless it don’t make any sense that its so many buildings that are collecting dust but yet there are alot of people and kids sleeping on the streets and lets not forget this has been the coldest winter ever. please help our community out

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