25 complaints about homeless in parks
The city received 25 complaints in 2018 about homeless people camping in city parks, according to a new city staff report — and although the city followed up in every case, there was only one occasion where a person was evicted.
The Examiner was there on April 18 when E.J. White, 73, was removed by city staff from a tent in the park at Chemong Rd. and Sunset Blvd., just south of Walmart.
As city workers dismantled his campsite, social service workers put him in a waiting cab to take him to Brock Mission shelter for men.
The staff report from city public works supervisor Phil Jacobs doesn’t describe that scene.
But it does offer an update to the city’s arenas, parks and recreation advisory committee on how the city has dealt with homeless people “living rough” in city parks over the last year.
Almost exactly a year ago, the city adopted a new protocol for dealing with homeless people living in city-owned parks: campsites are dismantled by city staff after the person has been asked three times to leave and been given 10 days to do so.
The report from Jacobs states that between Jan. 1 and Nov. 9, 2018, the city received 25 complaints about people living rough in city parks.
Some details from the report:
• When Jacobs visited those 25 campsites, 17 sites still had people living in them and the rest were abandoned.
• Jacobs either spoke to the people living in the 17 campsites, or he left a business card — and social services workers followed up to see if they could help the people find homes.
• 11 people moved voluntarily.
• In eight campsites, people did not move.
• Six of the eight campsites later had to be dismantled by city workers.
• Of those six campsites, all except one (occupied by White) were abandoned by the time city workers arrived to do the dismantling.