A day before the cold weather blew in, the city moved about 20 individuals living at "Camp 83" into a hotel in Reisterstown. Residents were supposed to be moved on Monday, but the action was delayed due to an apparent bureaucratic traffic jam. Workers spent about three hours helping residents gather their things before moving to a motel in Reisterstown, closing another chapter for the people living under the I-83 overpass.
On Monday the residents of the encampment were told that their belongings were being taken to a storage facility and the rest of the camp cleared out for cleaning. But nothing was moved, due a miscommunication at City Hall, and it's still unclear whether or not the homeless were to be moved at that time, then come back after the area had been cleaned. Due, we suppose, to the miscommunication within City Hall, the homeless were allowed to remain and the area remained unscrubbed.
On Thursday, the move finally happened. Workers from the city's Department of Social Services, Heathcare For the Homeless, Bon Secours, and other homeless advocates oversaw the move and helped the residents stuff their belongings into plastic garbage bags. Workers prepared vehicles to transport the residents to their new temporary home in the county.
"They told us we'll be here for about 30 days," said Camp 83 resident Darrell Dixon, "then they're going to probably renew us after that." Dixon had been at the camp for over a year and was the unofficial mayor.
"Darrell would make sure everything was cleaned up and neat," said Ashley, also a resident. "I can't wait to get in my new room though."
As the former residents unpacked their bags, suitcases, and backpacks at the motel, inmates from the city jail cleaned up the last of the encampment across town—a fact that raised the ire of one homeless advocate who helped with the move.
"Using inmates to clear out the homeless is degrading," said Duane Davis, a reporter for Word On The Street, a homeless-focused newspaper. "I've been an inmate. This is nothing but slave labor. The city has people to do this. This is just degrading to everyone involved."
None of the Department of Corrections supervisors at the cleanup site would comment about the sweep.
See a gallery of the final move HERE.