Another tent city going up to illustrate homelessness

Tents for the homeless set up by Amistad Catholic Worker in New Haven, May 15, 2014.
Tents for the homeless set up by Amistad Catholic Worker in New Haven, May 15, 2014.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Once again there’s a push underway in the city of New Haven to find shelter for the homeless.

“It’s just slow, politics are slow,” said Anna Rose Gable of Amistad Catholic Worker, “and so the reason we have this action today is that people need a place tonight and we need action now.”

The faith-based organization Amistad Catholic Worker spearheaded Thursday’s demonstration. They marched to Howard Avenue to to set up a tent city on a piece of property. It’s to prove a point and serve as a place for the homeless to temporarily live.

“We’re ultimately looking for the idea of a safe zone where homeless people can go if they are not going to give us a building a safe zone where they can go ahead and live peacfully without drugs, alcohol or harm,” Flor Jones of New Haven said.

RELATED: Police dismantle New Haven homeless camp

This comes after the city shut down the annual overflow shelter in May, leaving dozens of the city’s homeless with nowhere to go. Amistad Catholic Worker says it wants city leaders to offer more shelter beds and affordable housing. In the past Mayor Toni Harp’s office has said that putting up a homeless encampments on city property is a liability. Therefore, whatever is put up will most likely be taken down.

“Homeless people are being asked to disappear and they can’t,” Gable said. “They are people like anyone else.”

Those who live next to this current tent city say they were blindsided by the whole thing, and they aren’t happy about what this will do to a neighborhood already dealing with its own set of problems.

“I can’t leave my house because I’m afraid someone is going to break into it,” Abdullah Shehadeh said. “I’m sitting 24/7 in my house because I can’t leave it for 10 minutes. We don’t need this unsafe situation.

The mayor’s office tells News 8 that the city does realize the needs of the homeless and does what it can based on the resources it has. The mayor’s spokesperson says the city appropriates $1 million a year for homeless services, and adds that the tent city will at some point be dismantled.

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