ASHEVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – On Friday the city of Asheville announced their plans to evict homeless people living in two different tent encampments due to safety concerns.
Officials issued a notice giving campers seven days to leave encampments in Martin Luther King Park and Aston Park and relocate to another location.
Asheville city officials said in a statement that the action was taken following recent aggressive and criminal behavior.
“This action was taken following safety concerns expressed by nearby neighbors and issues City staff have observed, including criminal and aggressive behavior,” Polly McDaniel, city spokesperson for the city of Asheville said, “Our parks are places where residents, including families with children, should be safe.”
Within this 7-day period, city officials are working with local advocacy organizations such as Homeward Bound WNC and others to find a safe place to relocate those living in the tent encampments.
BeLoved Asheville, an organization dedicated to providing aid to unsheltered people, expressed concerns about the ethics of evicting homeless residents with a CDC moratorium in place without a firm plan to relocate the campers.
“We’ve been asking the community to reach out to city council and reach out to the city if Asheville to just express the concern about making folks move from one location without having another location to move into” Adrienne Sigmon, co-Director of BeLoved Asheville, said.
City of Asheville officials said they’ve acknowledged that CDC guidance urges cities not to move homeless encampments due to COVID-19, but they said the neighborhoods’ safety concerns the moratorium.
“While the City has been aligned with CDC guidance, which advises that unsheltered populations be allowed to remain in place during the pandemic to help cut down on the transmission of COVID, this guidance also advises that encampments should be moved if there are safety concerns,” city officials said.
City leaders and organizations are still working to find a place to relocate those living in the homeless encampment.