Time running out for people living at Mill Street homeless camp

Updated: Mar. 19, 2021 at 6:50 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Time is running out for people living in the homeless camp on Mill Street in Huntsville.

On Monday, City leaders announced the people living in tents below the 565 overpasses need to move out so crews could begin flood mitigation work with the Church Street construction.

Eviction notices were given earlier this month and now it is a race against time to get the remaining 20 residents moved out.

The residents who live on Mill Street were told they had until the end of this week to pack everything up and get out or face citations or possibly be arrested.

In a last-minute rush, volunteers from across Huntsville rolled up their sleeves to help the homeless community off Mill Street.

“Rented a U-Haul and got some pickup trucks came out and just prepared,” said volunteer Emma Steelman. “Brought breakfast for everybody to get them moved.”

Police were out at the homeless camp Friday, telling residents they needed to be out by the end of day.

“It’s tense so people are stressed. They’ve been living here for years. To uproot everything in only a week when everything is soaking wet has really been difficult.”

A spokesperson for the Huntsville Police Department said the people living at the camp were told more than two weeks ago they would need to move locations.

On Monday, leaders with several non-profits including the Salvation Army, the Downtown Rescue Mission, First Stop and Wellstone, notified the residents their doors are open, and help is available for them to safely relocate.

Reporter: “Has any of the organizations been down to help you?”

“No, no,” said Anton Wanerka who lives at the camp. “Nobody has been here.”

“We’ve seen one organization come by to check in on things today, but they didn’t move anybody’s belongings,” said Steelman. “They’ve stopped by twice but haven’t provided any aid unfortunately.”

The police spokesperson wouldn’t comment on exactly what would happen if the people didn’t leave the camp by the end of Friday.

But volunteers didn’t want to take any chances.

“These are our citizens and we need to love on them and take care of them as if they were any other resident.”

Volunteers said they will remain out here until everyone has been moved to safe location.

Some of the agencies we spoke with Friday said its goal is to help these people make the move from homelessness to independent sustainable living.

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