Abatement of Richmond encampment postponed

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By Mike Kinney

The city of Richmond postponed Monday’s scheduled abatement of the homeless encampment at 22nd Street and Carlson Boulevard, saying more time is needed to prepare a warming center at nearby GRIP with food and shelter.

On March 5, dozens of people living in the growing homeless encampment were given notice to vacate, as city officials say the encampment is increasingly becoming a public health and safety problem.

Today, Tim Higares, the director of Richmond’s Department of Infrastructure and Maintenance Operations, told the Standard why the abatement has yet to occur.

“The city of Richmond will be postponing the scheduled abatement of the homeless encampment across from GRIP until the week of April 1 pending the opening of the GRIP warming Center,” Higares said. “The warming center will provide warmth, food and shelter for the people that are currently occupying the encampment.”

The tent encampment 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 Higares. The abatement effort is being done in coordination with county health and homeless services officials, he said.

Community concerns have been expressed about the displacement of the campers, with some residents and loved ones telling us they have no where else to go.

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