Some people living in “Tent City” held pieces of paper Wednesday that offered 90-day stays at undisclosed shelter hotels, as long as they agreed to meet a list of guidelines.
Why it matters: The county promised a room would be available to each person following the health director’s Tuesday order to clear the encampment. The big question now is who will move, and what happens to those who don’t want to, or are physically or mentally unable to do so, by the county’s 5pm Friday deadline.
State of play: “Tent City” started in March 2020. The order came Tuesday at 5pm. Most residents were notified Wednesday afternoon. There’s a cold rain coming Thursday. Friday’s the deadline.
- They can take two bags of clothes, and must not use drugs or alcohol during their stay in the hotel, among other rules.
- The county organized nonprofit partners who’ve worked closely with the population this year — Roof Above, Block Love CLT, Hearts for the Invisible, and others — to deliver the news and help with the rushed transition.
Not everybody will take the offer: “Some are like, ‘sign me up,’” said Kenya Joseph, co-founder of HFTI. “But other people are like, ‘You have to drag me out.’”
What to do: Community members have emailed asking how to help. The organizations say that right now they’re focused on getting the residents moved. “The public, unfortunately, (are) bystanders on this,” Joseph said.
- At least for now, the organizations are telling people “be patient.”
- The county has a list of resources here.
- There’s some debate over whether to donate bins. The residents can’t take plastic bins to the hotel. But if they have a place to store them, bins would be helpful.
What’s next: The county has a press conference at 10am Thursday.