Several arrests made as NYPD clears East Village homeless encampment

NEW YORK – Mayor Eric Adams’ plan to remove homeless camps in the city changed dramatically on Wednesday when more than half a dozen people were arrested for refusing to leave the East Village camp.

Seven o’clock on Wednesday, men and women who experienced homelessness defiantly sat on the sidewalk where they slept for weeks while New York City police and the Sanitary Department tried to clean up their camp.

Eventually, city workers tossed their tents and bags into a garbage truck. Police arrested seven people for obstructing the government administration.

Cynthia Vee told Ali Bauman of CBS2 that she was one of six people living on East Ninth Street Sidewalk.

“We asked them to voucher our belongings, and they put them in garbage trucks,” Vee said.

City Hall says only four people lived on the sidewalk by their numbers, but none accepted the city’s offer to stay in the shelter.

“With my friends in the community, it’s safe. People go in pairs to men’s shelters, they’re so scary and dangerous,” Vee said.

Caroline Ratcliffe lives in a block of flats.

“It’s hard for people to walk that side of the street when there’s a homeless camp,” she said.

In March, Adams ordered the agencies to remove homeless camps across the city.

The NYPD says 318 camps have been cleared since then.

“The initiative continues to thrive and take homeless people, take them off the streets and out of these precarious conditions, and bring them to a more stable situation and connect them to the services many of them need,” said Kenneth NYPD chief Corey said.

Police have met with outrage from advocates who claim that in order to solve the city’s homelessness crisis, the mayor should first expand affordable housing units.

“The city should use all this energy and all this money to bring people into apartments,” said Helen Strom, of the Safety Net project.

“I find this incredibly reactive and honest, this tactic and what I’ve seen, the spectacle and the resources used, I find very unproductive and I think it’s harmful,” said City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.

In a statement, a city council spokesman told CBS2:

“From the beginning, the mayor was clear that every New Yorker deserves dignity, and there is no dignity to live on the streets. We have been engaged in this place for weeks, and our teams were respected then and today and gave multiple offers of shelter and coverage to these individuals. provide clean, safe places to sleep tonight. We will not be discouraged from offering those on the streets the support they deserve, while ensuring that our public spaces remain clean for all New Yorkers. “

We have just seen the city spend tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, to arrest the homeless and throw away all their belongings. They have said many times that all they want is an apartment, all they want is an apartment. No one came here today to help with housing or an apartment, “Strom said.

“If you live from salary to salary, you are one family problem, one disease, one crisis far from being in a tent next to mine,” Vee said.

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