Judge bans homeless camps in Hamilton County

Homeless ban now county-wide

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters spent the week going to court to shut down homeless encampment that moved from Third Street to Central Parkway to Gilbert Avenue.

By Thursday, Deters had enough and asked a judge to stop them for good.

Homeless camps are now banned throughout Hamilton County as long as there is space available in local shelters.

Mayor John Cranley, Deters and other city leaders have repeatedly said the homeless encampments are a threat to the public's health and safety.

City officials say there are beds and other resources available for the homeless with local shelters and social service agencies.

Deters sued the city earlier this week to ban the camps after Cranley asked him to get involved.

Homeless camp remains put near casino while judge ponders their fate

Judge expands homeless camp ban beyond Downtown

Earlier Thursday, Cincinnati police shut down the camp on Central  Parkway near JACK Casino.

Officers told the 18 homeless people staying in tents on a grassy median to leave as city sanitation workers began picking up trash.

Shortly after, Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate said all of the homeless voluntarily complied to leave.

No arrests were reported.

Josh Spring, leader of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, decried the early morning enforcement. He called it "sneaky" and "cowardly."

The coalition and a resident of the homeless camp, Joseph Phillips, asked a federal judge to keep camps open on Central Parkway and Third Street .

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black said no both times.

Judge denies request to keep Downtown homeless camp open

When police moved in to close the camp Thursday, Spring said the judge had not ruled yet in their latest request.

"The city decided to be sneaky. The judge has not ruled. Police are standing all around people and overseeing people packing up their tents and threatening arrest if people do not," Spring said.

"Last night the city said we are not going to mess with anybody tonight but they show up the next morning. Some people are still sleeping….it's cowardly, really."

Spring insists there are not enough beds at local shelters.

Some elected officials like Cincinnati City Council Member Tamaya Dennard say the city should help those who do not want to go in shelters.

"If you keep forcing people that have nowhere to go, they're going to just keep going somewhere," Spring said Thursday. "People can't stop existing like they seem to want."

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