NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven police swarmed the so-called “tent city” Thursday morning, after an eviction order deadline passed Wednesday afternoon.
City crews used heavy equipment to dismantle the massive homeless encampment off Ella T. Grasso Boulevard.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said city leaders never encouraged people to live at the camp, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, they never kicked the homeless out. However, leaders recently discovered more trash, human waste, and other dangerous conditions on the property.
“The tents are very flammable, and so we became much more concerned recently about health and human safety,” Elicker said.
Along with tents and clothing, cleanup crews removed a lawnmower, gasoline canisters, and propane tanks — items Elicker said are unsafe.
The majority of the dozen people who had lived in “tent city” had left the property by the city’s deadline of 1 p.m. Wednesday. New Haven police say three residents were evicted from the site and left peacefully Thursday morning.
Erick Pullen said he lived in the “tent city” months ago and came back to help his friends move
“You can’t win,” Pullen said. “What are you supposed to do?”
Elicker said they could use services the city’s offering them.
“All of [the residents] can stay at the Columbus House shelter, and [beds are] still available for them,” Elicker said.
“Services that [the city is] so-called saying that they’re giving to these people, there’s a waiting list, a lot of red tape,” Pullen said. “It’s not what they’re making it out to be.”
Mark Colville, an advocate for homeless outreach from Amistad Catholic Worker, was arrested Thursday and charged with trespassing.
Earlier this week, Colville argued residents have a right to live on the property under the United Nation Declaration on Human Rights.
“Am I saying people should be able to run wild or sleep wherever they want? Absolutely not,” Colville said. “In fact, that’s what the city is saying by denying any place for [residents] to be, they have to pick a place. What we’re saying is to designate a place.”
The report below is from Good Morning Connecticut at 10 a.m.