Homeless encampment conditions called “health hazard”

homeless-encampment

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — In a field near East Rock in New Haven, another load of garbage is dumped and the process starts again.

Years of homeless living in this area has meant that bottles, bags and trash have piled up and become a problem.

“It’s a matter of health and safety,” said Velma George, New Haven’s Coordinator of Homelessness.

Calling the conditions “deplorable” George said the city launched a joint effort to clean up the area.  Different city services and the Department of Transportation along with the homeless pitched in to clean up the area.  The folks who had been living there could keep what they wanted but the rest of the stuff had to go.

 

“It’s a big mess,” said Jesse Hardy,a homeless advocate who heads up Jesse’s Homeless Outreach project.  “So that’s a problem that we’re having basically today- an accumulation of stuff that’s been going on for a number of years. And, it’s not really these people that did it, it’s an accumulation of ten years ago, maybe even eight years ago.”

Since the summer about twenty people camped out in the field.  Complaints from residents brought in the city of New Haven.

“We’ve had our out-reach workers come out to engage the folks,get their information and get them connected to housing,” said George. “We are also connecting them to healthcare. We have a nurse that’s come out.”

City officials called the area a health hazard.  With that problem now cleaned up, there are other problems to tackle.

“You have couples back here,” said Hardy.  “They want to stick together.  There are no shelters for couples.”

With winter coming, the next goal is to move these folks to shelter, so that they no longer have to call this field their home.

The city is working with the homeless from this encampment to see who is eligible for housing.  Also, rather than return to the field tonight, they are strongly encouraged to go to columbus house or the overflow shelters.

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