Advocates create demands for city leaders amid ordered evacuation of homeless camp

CINCINNATI -- Advocates of people experiencing homelessness created a list of demands for city leaders amid an ordered evacuation of a homeless camp under a Downtown overpass. 

City officials say the homeless camp, near Third and Plum streets, has become a health and safety hazard and should be cleaned up by week's end. People living beneath the overpass were notified Monday that they need to evacuate. 

Leaders from Maslow’s Army and the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition created a list of demands, which they will present to City Manager Patrick Duhaney and Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard at 2 p.m. 

Among those demands are permanent, safe housing options for people experiencing homelessness, as well as more access to public restrooms and trash cans Downtown. 

In a memo released Monday, Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney framed the evacuation as the first step in a long process to help the people living in the camp get into permanent housing.

A man who goes by Bison, the mayor of one of the camps, will also meet with city leaders Tuesday afternoon. He said his biggest concern is “that everybody gets what they need.”

“That people who want housing get their housing, that people who want safer spots to live get safer spots and that the people who need mental help get mental help,” Bison said. 

Kevin Finn, the CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness, said the city had not discussed expanding shelter capacity with any of the organizations listed in Duhaney's memo as of Sunday, the day before Duhaney released his memo.

A spokesman for Duhaney said city officials are confident there will be enough shelter beds Friday night for everyone who gets displaced from the encampment. The city plans to fund a temporary shelter until the people can be placed in permanent housing, Duhaney's memo said.

In an email to WCPO Tuesday afternoon, spokesman Casey Weldon wrote that:

  • The temporary shelter will be located at Prince of Peace Church on Race Street in Over-the-Rhine.
  • The shelter will be able to house as many as 44 people displaced by the cleanup of the encampment. The city estimates there are 40 people staying at the encampment now.
  • The temporary shelter will cost no more than $62,000 for up to eight weeks.
  • Money for the short-term shelter will come from the city manager's Obligations Fund.
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