Derrick Street homeless camp in Huntsville to be shut down on Friday

Homeless camp eviction
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 6:24 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2022 at 6:56 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The city of Huntsville is shutting down the Derrick Street homeless encampment.

Every person living at the site must be gone by 11 a.m. on July 15. Many city leaders believe the site is a public health concern. But, homeless advocates believe this displacement threatens the lives of the people who live there.

[ READ MORE: “Stop Eviction” Homeless advocates threaten legal action against City of Huntsville ]

On Thursday, volunteers went out to help the homeless individuals pack their belongings. Executive Director of Love Huntsville Emma Steelman said finding safe places to take everyone is not easy. Love Huntsville is a nonprofit focused on advocacy and ending homelessness. Steelman believes city leaders need to offer permanent supportive housing solutions before evictions continue.

Volunteers with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Huntsville Bail Fund, are also pushing city leaders to take action.

“What we are doing and how we are treating folks is really unfair,” Steelman said. “There are mothers out here who have lost their children, there are people who have disabilities and severe mental health conditions, there are veterans, there are people who just in the pandemic got behind on their bills.”

Steelman said volunteers will be back at the site Friday morning. They want to ensure everyone who had been living at the camp is taken to a safe place. Any person still living there after 11 a.m. on July 15, could face penalties.

“It is so easy to end up unhoused, and Huntsville really needs to work on safety nets and programs that are actual viable solutions that are accessible to people,” Steelman said.

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