- The National Park Service finally cleared a dangerous homeless encampment blocks from the White House Wednesday.
- Some of the homeless people living in the encampment didn’t have a plan for where they’d end up, they told the Daily Caller News Foundation as they collected their belongings to leave the area.
- “There’s nothing safe about this space. If you know the space itself, it really is a biological hazard. There’s an open air drug market, anyone who walks in this community is careful to walk on the other side of the street not to get close to it,” one Washington resident told the DCNF.
Washington, D.C. — The National Park Service (NPS) has cleared a dangerous homeless encampment in Washington, D.C.’s McPherson Square after months of promising to do so.
The city requested that NPS clear the park, which is situated just blocks from the White House, after three overdose deaths occurred in the last six months. The homeless people living in the camp were made aware that the city intended to have the park cleared in April, but the eviction date was moved up to Wednesday due to “high levels of illegal drug activity and other dangerous and unsafe activities,” according to the Washington Post. (RELATED: Mass Fentanyl Poisoning In One State Leaves Three Children Dead)
“McPherson Square was closed this morning because of very serious concerns about growing threats to life, health, and safety,” Chief of Communications and Spokesperson Mike Litterst said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday morning.
There were roughly 55 people left as NPS workers cleared the area Wednesday morning, according to The Washington Post.
“It’s a biological waste zone and it poses a risk to the community. Before, you’d have moms and dads here having lunch with their kids. And now, unfortunately, it’s become a literal example of the fentanyl that’s ravaging communities across this country. I applaud the city for what it’s doing. It’s actually looking out for the best and longterm interests of the residents here. It’s also the right thing to do for these residents, they need serious mental health care, they need help to overcome substance abuse disorder, and, again, this is a literal example of the types of calamities ravaging our country,” one Washington local, who requested anonymity because of the nature of their work, told the DCNF.
“There’s nothing safe about this space. If you know the space itself, it really is a biological hazard. There’s an open air drug market, anyone who walks in this community is careful to walk on the other side of the street not to get close to it,” the resident added.
Some of the homeless residents packing up their tents before NPS workers in hazardous material suits entered the park said they weren’t sure of where they would go next, they told the DCNF.
“I think it’s just funnier that we’ll spend $400,000 to pop a Chinese balloon, but they won’t put people into homes,” Danil Ezekiel, a homeless man living in the encampment told the DCNF as he collected his belongings. “I’m just wondering is it President Biden or President Trump because I thought that Democrats actually gave a darn about the homeless, all this money that they’re apparently giving these nonprofits.”
The area church officials and activist organizations, who all advocated for the homeless community, were all helping those forced to evacuate. Funders Together to End Homelessness CEO and Founder Amanda Misiko Andere believes the action to clear the encampment was a “raid,” she told the DCNF.
“We’re here to tell the federal government to follow their own strategic plan to end homelessness and not conduct these raids. The only solution to address the safety issue is to get people into housing,” Andere said.
“I don’t think it’s very humane or makes that much sense to what these people need,” Graham Everhart, a student at George Washington University, told the DCNF. “I think overdoses and deaths happen in a community as vulnerable as this regardless of if they’re all in one place or spread out throughout the city.”
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