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  January 28, 2018

Homeless Advocates Decry Encampment Eviction

City officials and advocates for the homeless dispute the circumstances under which a prominent homeless encampment in downtown Baltimore was cleared on Friday
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CROWD: ... no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace.

DHARNA NOOR: We're outside of City Hall just a block away from The Real News building. This morning, city outreach workers were clearing out a homeless encampment just a few blocks away and we were here to talk with advocates and activists about what they thought the city should have done.

RICHARD T. WHITE JR.: We need to see evidence of what the city claimed that they are doing pertaining to our homeless population. We need to see evidence of monies that's being utilized pertaining to citizens that are homeless here in Baltimore City.

CROWD: No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace.

JAISAL NOOR: People are throwing their belongings onto the street to blockade the eviction process.

TONY SIMMONS: In the beginning we feeling like help everybody move out and clean up, and make sure the city holds their promise. But a lot of the people that live out here decided to take a stand and they gonna take a stand right now. They're just gonna bring attention to the city, that they don't wanna keep being moved and shuffled around like cattle.

SHAQ: My name's Shaq. I'm homeless. I ain't got no house. I been out here seven years. They ain't helping me. They just wanna move everybody off the streets.

CHRISTINA FLOWERS: Today is the day that the mayor decided that she wanted to evict another, and I'm gonna say another because this is number six for the real care providers to experience how the city continues to deal with our homeless individuals, especially those on the street. Especially those with special circumstances.

JAISAL NOOR: Can you tell me your name?

TARA MARTIN: Tara. Tara Martin.

JAISAL NOOR: How long have you been out here?

TARA MARTIN: Eight years.

JAISAL NOOR: And this is where you live.


JAISAL NOOR: Can you show us real quick?

TARA MARTIN: It's just blankets and a tarp.

JAISAL NOOR: Yeah. So, the mayor we just heard, those who represented the mayor's office, they said that everyone out here has been, they met with everyone out here. Have they met with you?

TARA MARTIN: No. They haven't met with everybody. There’s a lot of people they definitely haven't met with everybody.

JAISAL NOOR: Do you know where you're gonna go? They say they're gonna come remove, clear everything out.

TARA MARTIN: I mean, we can get a site set up in another place, you know. Still got the porch still got...

EVICTED RESIDENT: I sleep right there, where the wall is. Got the bed right there.

JAISAL NOOR: How long you been out here?

EVICTED RESIDENT: About eight, nine months. Almost a year.

JAISAL NOOR: So, we're talking to Chris Rafferty from the Mayor's office. He said they came out and spoke to everybody. Did they speak to you?

EVICTED RESIDENT: I really wouldn't know because I have a job. I probably was gone.

JAISAL NOOR: What are you gonna do now? Do you think you'll be out of a place to stay or are you gonna move somewhere else?

EVICTED RESIDENT: Well, I'm thinking about going back to Code Blue. I might, you know. Because...I’ll find somewhere else, you know. Because I don't know about this place this guy talking about.

JAISAL NOOR: VOA. Volunteers of America.

EVICTED RESIDENT: He said something about out there Pulaski Highway and all this stuff. The information that he giving, I just wanna know how we’re gonna get back in town.

JAISAL NOOR: Because you work in the city.

EVICTED RESIDENT: Yeah, I work in the city. So, it would be best for me to stay here, instead of going-

JAISAL NOOR: This is right downtown. So, you're close to everything.

EVICTED RESIDENT: Right, right. So, if I go out there, I don't know that much about Pulaski Highway, I've been out that area, but that's about all.

CROWD: ... housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace. No housing, no peace.

CHRISTINA FLOWERS: So, today is another example of evicting homeless individuals. No housing, no resources, no emergency supportive services but they wanna push our homeless individuals into an institutional setting program, building somewhere where they used to house ex-prisoner and cons, whatever. This is not the setting for some of these traumatized, special circumstances, homeless individuals. We gotta stop sending our tax dollars to individuals where they're not supporting the least of them. They're not supporting our underserved population and that's what the homelessness is. They're underserved, they don't have the opportunities that we have as individuals and we should be standing in the gap for them.


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