Homeless camp to be vacated

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In just a few hours, around a dozen homeless people will be told to leave their camp, or face the possibility of being arrested. The city of Indianapolis says the camp site is under a CSX train track that needs to be worked on, and its a safety hazard.

Folks who live at the camp say they have few, if any, alternatives.

They say they’re angry that the city is forcing them to leave, because they don’t know where to go. Others don’t even want to get involved with law enforcement, and are going tonight.

Reginald Smith is one of them. He says he’s leaving before the possibility of having to face off with city officials when the 9am deadline to vacate arrives. He wants no part of that.

“I don’t like the police, no, no, no, I don’t like no police, no. No, no, no, no, I don’t see them, I don’t like them,” says Smith.

Smith’s life is wrapped in the confines of a tent, perched at the top of a hill next to the CSX train trellis on South Davidson Street near downtown Indianapolis. He says he knows he has to leave, but, where he, and everyone else goes next, is not known.

“I’m pretty much just concerned about me, right now. Everybody else is grown, so, I guess everybody’s got to figure out what they’re going do, that’s all I can say,” Smith says.

The city is forcing the remaining dozen or more people, who’ve made the cement foundation, dirt and high grass, a community for themselves, out. Public works says CSX wants to come in to do some work to this stretch of track. Doing so with the homeless camp here at the same time, would be a safety concern. What’s concerning to the people who call it home is the lack of other places to go. The Coalition For Homelessness Intervention and Prevention says there are.

“We hope that we’ve gotten most people who wanna get in to housing or who are ready to get in to some programs already there. With the other individuals, we’ll have the IMPD outreach task force as well as the other outreach teams there ready to take individuals.”

Reginald Smith enjoyed the party under the trellis on Sunday, said his goodbyes, and decided to leave before the deadline.

“They’ll put handcuffs on you and take you to jail. I’m not gonna be here,” says Smith.

At one point, the homeless camp was 60 people strong. On Sunday, only about a dozen or so remained. They didn’t want to be shown in our story, but a few are holding strong and staying put.