WASHINGTON - An area known as "Tent City" that is home to many of the District of Columbia’s homeless is being cleared out by the city. But it has many asking: Where will these people go?
The makeshift encampment area is located along Rock Creek Parkway near Virginia Avenue under the Whitehurst Freeway overpass.
There were about 20 tents still pitched in the area Wednesday night. However, a notice was placed on them warning that by Friday at 2 p.m., the people residing here will be forced to move out and their items will be removed.
One homeless woman we spoke with said she will be out here waiting Thursday morning because city officials say they will be out here to help place people in housing.
“We’re still waiting for housing,” said Lovenia Evans. “There’s no need for this if we don't have housing. If we’re a hazard out here and a few of us got this on our tent, where is our housing at?”
There are also shelter options available, but most people we have spoken with said they are out here because they don't want to be in shelters -- describing poor or unsafe conditions.
Two weeks ago, we visited the tent city because signs were posted that warned the area would be cleared out. We were told by three different officials with the Department of Human Services and the Bowser administration that it was just about clearing trash and no tents would be removed since it is hypothermia season and the tents could save lives.
But this week, it was a different story as Mayor Muriel Bowser told FOX 5 that the tents have to go.
Why the change in plans? Brenda Donald, the deputy mayor for Health and Human Services said since it has been unseasonably warm, they decided to go ahead and move everyone out before the temperature drops.
“It’s not that we’re going to snatch up the tents and keep them in the cold,” said Donald. “In fact, we're saying let’s pack up the tents and match you up with housing and that's consistent with mayor's plan to end homelessness.”
She said it is illegal to camp overnight in the District without a permit and the goal of this is to place anyone interested into housing. If anyone is not willing to do that will have to leave the area.