Deadline arrives for Tent City move - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Deadline arrives for Tent City move

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Most of the homeless have already left the area known as Tent City. (Source: WAFF) Most of the homeless have already left the area known as Tent City. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The deadline for homeless people to leave an area known as Tent City in Huntsville has arrived.

Last Wednesday, most of the homeless had already left the area. During a check Monday morning, only one person was still in the encampment.

The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) owns the land under the overpass on Derrick Street in Huntsville.

ALDOT Regional Director Johnny Harris has said that it was a tough decision to kick these people out because he understands their struggles, but at the end of the day, the fires, the fights and the drug use in the area have become too big of a problem and really a safety concern for his workers.

A homeless man we spoke to said he stayed away from Tent City for much the same reason. He heard of people getting stabbed and beaten in their tents, and he didn't want that to happen to him.

One former Tent City resident who moved out Monday said this is an attack on folks who already have very little.

"They have the least of the least in the community," he said. "Basically told to move, evicted, with no place to go. No provisions, no care - because we have no clout, economically or politically - and it's expedient to do so."

If anyone is found residing at Tent City after Monday, they could be arrested for trespassing, but it is something police do not want to have to do.

Huntsville police and other volunteer organizations have been helping the homeless move their stuff out and find somewhere else to go.

Members of Team Hope, an organization with Mount Zion Baptist Church, has stopped by weekly to check on folks and provide meals, clothing and medical care.

One member said even though the homeless have left this spot, it doesn't mean their work is over.

"We just have to find out where they went, locate them and then we will continue serving their needs," said Team Hope member Richard Waltman.

The Salvation Army in Huntsville said they have beds set up, available to anyone who needs rest and maybe a hot meal.

Tent City is still the site of multiple mattresses, garbage, tents and other belongings. It will be up to the state to clean it all up.

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