“Stop Eviction” Homeless advocates threaten legal action against City of Huntsville
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - WAFF cameras were rolling at a tense city council meeting in Huntsville. Several groups, like the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center are demanding the city stop the eviction of the Derrick Homeless Camp.
“We’ve been asking for plans for a long time,” said Tia Turner, the Love Huntsville President. “We didn’t want to come to this point but here we are and we’re asking what are you going to do about it?”
Stop the eviction: that’s the demand from national, state and local groups. They want Huntsville city leaders to leave the Derrick street encampment right where it is. It’s a site where unhoused people call home.
“We demanded they not evict any more camps including the Derrick North Camp until there is permanent supportive housing solutions offered,” said Love Huntsville Executive Director, Emma Steelman.
Homeless advocates say this displacement threatens the lives and health of the people who live there. They say it also violates the U.S. constitution.
“I hope you liked our letter I hope it encourages you to actually do something because its passed time to do so,” said Vote Huntsville Executive Director, Jordan Steelman.
Scott Erwin, the City of Huntsville’s Director of Community Development, says he thinks it’s better if the site is cleared.
“When you walk the camp like I have and do regularly, it’s a health concern. There’s garbage out there, poor personal hygiene, excellent drug use, and prostitution. We had a Hepatitis A outbreak.”
However, advocates point to current CDC guidelines recommending encampment residents be allowed to stay where they are. That’s unless the city can provide housing for each person displaced.
The plan from the city is to point those in the camp to non-profits.
The city has moved its eviction date five times according to advocates. We will continue to follow their demands.
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