PHILADELPHIA - No decision was made during an emergency hearing on Thursday on the fate of a homeless encampment along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Protesters have spent over two months camped out calling for policy changes regarding the homeless and low-income housing.
The tent encampment has stood on a baseball field on the parkway since June 10 and has grown to an estimated 100 to 150 people.
Philadelphia Housing Action — the coalition of groups that organized the encampment — said it was conceived as a form of political protest over city policies toward the homeless and the lack of low-income housing in the city.
Mayor Jim Kenney said Tuesday the city has been willing to meet over 20 of the protesters' demands.
City officials say one of the demands requires immediate permanent housing for everyone at the encampment, though encampment leaders have not identified the number of people within the encampment, or how many are indeed homeless.
The city says their permanent housing options are limited, and they have instead offered pathways to permanent housing that "thousands of other people take advantage of every year."
According to Kenney, the city has received more than 400 complaints about the encampment, and claimed living conditions there have worsened over the weeks.
"The conditions within the camp are getting worse and worse. They're getting less healthy, they're getting more violent, they're getting more filled with drugs, they're getting more unhealthy from a human excrement and human bodily function situation," Kenney stated. "It's just not sustainable."
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