City of New Haven asks people to leave homeless encampment

New Haven plans to clear out homeless encampment
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 7:31 PM EDT
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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - The Elm City wants people living in a homeless encampment behind a park to clean up and clear out.

New Haven gave those who call the tent city in back of West River Park home a 1 p.m. eviction deadline.

While that deadline came and went Wednesday with no immediate action, the city said the expectation is people need to leave.

People have been living there for about three years, but recently the city raised some health and safety concerns including propane tanks, open burning and human waste.

Outreach workers were on site Wednesday offering support and the city said there are beds available at the local shelters.

Many spent the morning cleaning up to move, but some said they’re still staying.

“We can’t have heat in our tents, sad as it is to say, we complied, then they want to say whatever we did is not good enough, they still want to shut us down, I’m done complying,” said Paul of New Haven.

Victor Alvardo has called the encampment home for the past two years.

“For me it really hurts, because we got together like a family, we looked out for each other and for them to come and do that, you know,” Alvardo said.

“Around propane tanks, open burn, human waste, constructing permanent structures on the site and other trash and debris and we unfortunately haven’t seen those issues be addressed,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.

Elicker stopped by the camp Wednesday afternoon.

While city outreach workers continue to offer support, including beds at the local homeless shelters to anyone who wants one, he said the bigger issue is the lack of affordable housing.

“My hope is they will voluntarily leave, but we’re looking at what makes the most sense in ability to clear the site,” said Elicker.

Wednesday’s 1 p.m. eviction deadline came and went.

Advocates showed up at city hall to put pressure on the city to allow the residents to stay.

“Now you’re going to tell me I can’t be there, I can’t be there?  Come on man. It’s all about politics and money, it’s sad, it’s so sad because we didn’t start out like this,” said Paul.

Elicker said his team wants to work with people and give them time, offering them options, but he said this needs to be cleaned up.