Homeless advocate says moving, banning camps only a temporary solution

Homeless advocate says moving, banning camps only a temporary solution
A homeless camp briefly settled on private property at 13th and Republic streets in Over-the-Rhine. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/file)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - More than a dozen of Cincinnati's homeless are looking for a new place to call home. Where that home is, many of them don't know.

Bison, the leader of one of the homeless camps that has caught the attention of city and county officials in the past weeks, says many people followed the steps they needed to take to get off the streets but they still need time to figure things out. But officials with the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County have said that time is up.

Those officials have agreed to a permanent county-wide ban of such camps on public and private property. This comes after more than a month of back and forth with members of those camps.

Court documents released Monday morning show officials entered into the agreement this past Thursday.

City officials say these illegal encampments are dangerous and harmful to the health of the community and people living in the camps. City crews have been ordered to clear the camps of any tents or shelters and anyone who stays there could be arrested.

According to Brian Garry, chair of the Human Services Coalition, this is a temporary solution to a big problem that impacts more than 9,000 people in Cincinnati.

"If they really want to solve the problem, think about this -- it took them two weeks to come up with $60 million for billionaires who own a soccer franchise in our city," Garry said. "Think about what $60 million could do for those experiencing homelessness in our city."

With this move, Garry says it'll be even harder for services to reach those who need help getting off the streets and into permanent housing.

"People aren't going to stop existing," Garry said. "They're currently homeless and moving them doesn't make them un-homeless -- they're still going to be homeless."

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