Officials clearing out homeless encampments in 2 DC parks

National Park Service is working on clearing out homeless encampments in two northwest D.C. parks.

NPS says they’re getting increased reports of drugs and violence at Burke and Gompers parks on 11th St. and Massachusetts Avenue.

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Now they’re working to clear the homeless from the parks by Wednesday due to safety concerns with children returning to a nearby school.

People we spoke to in the area say it’s about time.

"It’s really dangerous especially because kids are going to be going to school," Esmeralda Gonzales who lives nearby told FOX 5. 

Gonzales says she often doesn’t feel safe when passing by the parks.

"They fight. They sell drugs. So this is kind of dangerous.

NPS says it’s followed CDC and D.C. guidelines which allowed encampments to remain in parks during COVID but feel the parks have recently become a safety issue.

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Jeanette Lindsey doesn’t live in any of the encampments but says she knows people who do and often come to visit.

She’s worried about where the homeless will go.

"There’s a lot of people that have been there for a while and they have to up and go from one place to another. They have to settle all down again. It will take them a while to get used to it again," Lindsey said.

Despite Lindsey’s concerns, she says she understands how the encampments can become unsafe.

"There’s a lot of chaos going on and some people don’t like it, she said.

NPS said it’s working with the D.C. Department of Health and Human Services on finding the people a place to go.

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FOX 5 reached out to DHHS for more details on how it plans to help the homeless in the encampments but did not immediately hear back.

As of Tuesday evening, Burke Park was cleared but a tent with people inside still remained in Gompers Park.

NPS said it hopes to have all parks clear by Wednesday, August 18th.

The two parks will be cleaned and rehabilitated but will remain closed throughout the fall.