INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/AP) - Indianapolis police have arrested some homeless people who refused to vacate a makeshift camp near the city's downtown area.
The Indianapolis Star reports police began making arrests Monday at the site beneath a railroad bridge two hours after a 9 a.m. deadline for the camp to be vacated.
Among those arrested was Maurice Young, the camp's self-appointed caretaker. He says the camp's residents will now be forced "back to the alleys, back to the park benches, back to the abandoned houses" where they lived previously.
The city plans to put up fences later this week to prevent anyone from returning to the camp.
City officials say CSX needs to inspect the railroad overpass and that couldn't happen when the homeless people were camping under the bridge.
Dozens of homeless had intended on standing their ground when the City of Indianapolis served an eviction notice.
A homeless community known as “Tent City” was given seven days to leave the public property.
“They're just people, they're just people. They're somebody's son, they're somebody's daughter, they're, somebody's brother, somebody's sister,” says Dean Walker.
Walker is one of the many community members that visit Tent City once a week for a block party. This Sunday night the party was more somber as tenants had just hours to find a new place to call home.
“I really don't know because they're just going to end up some place else,” says Walker
Maurice is Tent City’s advocate.
“That's what I refer to as 'hide the homeless' because that's what's been done in the past,” says Maurice.
Maurice says, the city posted signs of the notice and in that time agencies said they would help find shelter, but so far Maurice says only four people have been helped.
“Let’s discuss some options that would be a win, win for all parties involved. I understand the business aspect of it. I understand the city's position on it and I understand the needs of this community is, so let’s come together and brainstorm and figure out what works for everybody,” says Maurice.
The camp continued to operate as usual before officials evicted and arrested those who refused to leave. They had a makeshift library filled with books and food on their table. Those who stayed after the eviction notice said they planned to fight for what they call home.
“We’re going to stand our ground peacefully and then we'll just play it by ear as it unfolds,” says Maurice.
Maurice says in years past, in similar situations, the city would forcefully move tenants by throwing out belongings in a dumpster. As of September 2012 it’s against federal law.
The law states police can only take property that seems abandoned or hazardous and then they must leave a notice on where that property is and keep it for up to 90 days.
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