Tent City closure leaves few long-term solutions for city’s displaced homeless
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Advocates for Huntsville’s homeless, along with aid organizations and law enforcement have been working for months to find a place for the city’s soon-to-be displaced Tent City residents.
On June 16th, the people living under I-565 will be forced out of their long-time camp site, under the order of the Alabama Department of Transportation.
But relocating around 30 people has proven to be a challenge.
While some are happy to stay in a shelter, others found comfort in their Tent City lifestyle.
“In every place you put them that`s sanctioned by some organization there will be certain rules,” said Sergeant Mark Roberts, with Huntsville Police Department. “Sometimes they can`t abide by them for whatever reason.”
Throughout the months of discussions, some homeless advocates proposed city or privately funded camp sites for the homeless to stay.
But Roberts thinks it is unlikely the idea would ever become reality. First, there is the problem of funding and resources. Even if the resources were available, Roberts and aid organizations are hesitant to move all of the displaced homeless to one location.
“Large camps are not really a good idea,” said Roberts. “They bring an assortment of different problems. If there’s only one or two at a site you don`t have a lot of those problems, but you get a large group and you have waste problems, garbage problems, you don’t want a lot of foot traffic to cause problems to surrounding landowners and business owners.”
Some of Huntsville homeless have already vacated Tent City and found temporary camp sites or shelter, but there are still few answers about where they can stay long term.