PHILADELPHIA - The city removed a homeless encampment at a Center City PATCO station Wednesday. They say they are offering them better options for housing and treatment.
However, the homeless called it an eviction while the city called it an encampment resolution. No matter what you called it, the underground homeless encampment at the Locust Street PATCO station looks different.
"The goal of today's operation is to have a collective effort with providers and to make sure we're giving housing and treatment services to our individuals," homeless advocate David Holloman
With a heavy police presence on Locust Street, a handful of protesters gathered. The removal of the homeless started at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Notices had been posted for days claiming the encampment was nuisance activity. The city says the homeless will have other places to go, advocates disagree.
"Today we were pretty successful in getting nine people placed into housing. We're also helping people get placed with their stored stuff," Hoffman said.
The encampment, which had been there for six months, once gave shelter to between 30 and 100 people. It drew complaints from PATCO commuters about safety and health concerns. There were tents set up, fires, even crimes committed there, according to police, but still, advocates would feed the homeless here and the station gave them shelter from poor weather.
"People are not comfortable in the shelters, people get stolen from, there's fights," homeless advocate Dominique McQuade
By noon, the entire concourse had been vacated and cleaned. The brief shutdown lasted less than three hours.
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