NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Thursday, the clock ran out for the people who were living in an East Rock encampment in New Haven. The city of New Haven came in and tore down the camp. A week ago, they had been given a warning that they needed to pack up and leave by December 15th.
In all, about 18 people had lived in the encampment. A handful of people were still there gathering belongings, as the trucks rolled in to clear out the area.
“Time is over now,” said one homeless man who did not want to be identified. “Some of the other folks were not prepared for this at all and some of us were already thinking that we should have left previously, before this, before the condition of the weather could affect us. A lot of us were not prepared for this.”
Last week, News 8 had visited the encampment and saw makeshift homes, piles of belongings, even generators. Mareen Johnson, the Homeless Coalition Chair in New Haven, felt it was a lot to pack in a short amount of time.
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“We can get them into the shelter but then, as of today, they lose all their stuff,” said Johnson.
The city has several reasons for moving these folks. The first reason being the freezing cold temperatures.
“They are going to be moving some place warmer because we are concerned about the cold weather,” said Velma George, the City of New Haven’s Coordinator for Homelessness.
“The campsite itself was illegal. The people who were staying here have been moved to shelter and a warmer place to stay,” said Laurence Grotheer, the Spokesperon for the city of New Haven.
Maureen Johnson is questioning the number of people who have been placed.
“According to City Hall, everyone is placed,” said Johnson. “And, as of last night, eleven did not have housing.”
For now, the homeless will go to shelters. Some were clearly upset about being moved others were grateful.
“I also feel it could be a new beginning for me and for those who are here,” said the homeless man who did not want to be identified. “Also, I just want to thank the city and everyone here who collaborated today for their kindness and the way that they handle this today.”
For now, the homeless that are going to shelters will have their belongings kept at the armory.
“So we were able to set up storage but we didn’t have a lot of time to get it there,” said Johnson.
She was helping some of the homeless and their belongings to the armory.
All the while, the trucks were rolling and the clock was ticking.