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Weeks after the District gave notice to homeless residents of an encampment near 27th Street and Virginia Avenue NW that it would “conduct a general clean-up” of the site, crews returned yesterday to evict the remaining campers and remove their belongings from the area.
DC takes down last homeless tent city near Watergate @wamu885news pic.twitter.com/5rSR7VnD6H
— Armando Trull (@trulldc) December 3, 2015
An earlier sweep of the so-called Whitehurst camp took place on Nov. 20, after which D.C. Water put up a fence on a large section of the site. Some of the camp’s residents then agreed to enter shelter or housing, while others held out, staying under overpasses until yesterday afternoon.
According to WAMU, ten men and women remained at the camp yesterday. As with all sweeps, the city offered to store the camp’s residents’ belongings.
“Over the past week and a half, seven individuals from the site have signed leases and moved into their own units,” Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Brenda Donald said in a statement provided yesterday. “The Department of Human Services has worked with each individual at the site to assess what services they are eligible for—and a number of additional folks will move into housing in the coming days. Today, the District government worked with the remaining individuals living at the site to remove debris that was left behind. Every individual was offered the option to store their belongings temporarily, and DHS continues to work with individuals who do not yet have a long-term housing solution.”
The Deputy Mayor’s office said it had helped more than a dozen Whitehurst residents get housing prior to the November sweep. Despite concerns from advocates about a lack of safe alternatives for people at the camps, the city has promised to disband similar encampments that officials believe are unsafe or unsanitary and to connect individuals with services.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery