CINCINNATI – The 50 or so people living in a downtown homeless camp plan to move out a day before the city’s deadline, with some moving to a new outdoor camp east of Downtown, an advocate said Saturday.
Samuel Landis of Maslow’s Army told WCPO about 20 people will be moving into a new camp away from the Central Business District. He said Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney has approved the site east of Downtown, but Landis didn't say exactly where it is.
Landis said the campers are grateful to the city for extending the original deadline from last week and will clean up the area under the Third and Plum overpass where they have been living.
Landis said he’s asking for a favor in return. He’s hoping someone will provide trucks to help them move.
“We wanted to do something to show our gratitude,” said Landis.
Landis noted that the camp “has gotten a lot bigger lately.”
The co-founder of Maslow’s Army said he was homeless for 20 years and lived under the Third and Plum overpass.
"I lived in this very tunnel for over five years. This was one of my spots," Landis said.
Landis said the city’s original plan to evict the campers last week on 72 hours’ notice was “a shock” at first.
“Of course, emotions were all over the place. So we’re actually going to be leaving a day early to show respect for the city, the citizens and the businesses out here,” Landis said.
He said the 30 or so homeless not moving to the new camp have signed up for or found housing elsewhere.
Now Landis is hoping someone in the community will lend a hand for the move.
“These individuals have really made some positive decisions. We would like some people in the community to step up and help pay for some trucks,” Landis said.
He said that would make the move “more dignified.”
“We think it’s a reasonable ask,” he said.
Landis said last week’s developments were important toward improving relations between the city and the homeless population.
“Putting faces behind this,” he called it.
Duhaney had announced a plan for the city to provide temporary shelter at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Over-the-Rhine and at the men's and women's shelters operated by Shelterhouse for the 50 people who got eviction notices from the city.
But that plan fell through when Prince of Peace Pastor John Suguitan and City Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard insisted the city work toward a long-term solution.
In a special session Thursday, council approved Dennard’s motion to delay the evacuation for a week.
Landis and Maslow’s Army has been working to help the homeless Downtown by soliciting and providing food and clothing and doing community outreach.
“I find myself in the situation where I can put back on the shoes they wear here now and I can provide hope and encouragement for them and champion for them,” Landis said.
SEE how Maslow’s Army helps the homeless on its website, maslowsarmy.org
“These are just individuals who are experiencing homelessness. It’s the situation they’re in, and change is possible,” Landis said.