Several homeless people set up an encampment under an interstate overpass not far from Baltimore’s Housing Resource Center (HRC), the city’s biggest shelter. The city announced that it will evict Camp 83, as it’s known, on Friday, March 8 and arrest those who refuse to leave.
by Rob Brune
I visited Camp 83 for the first time yesterday evening. My old friend Beth from Occupy Baltimore greeted me. Supporters of the camp held signs opposing its eviction on March 8. At rush hour on a Wednesday, cars entering the ramp to I-83 honked in support.
Making my way into the camp, sandwiched between the I-83 ramp and the Baltimore City Central Booking building, I met Liam Dunaway. Liam is a student at a local college who has been researching the various homeless camps in Baltimore. He spoke of unhealthy conditions in the Baltimore Resource Housing Center (HRC) and challenges such as couples being split up. In contrast to the shelter, the homeless camp has provided a safer environment, according to Liam. Watch Liam’s explanation on live-stream.
Two students from the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Catherine and Kate, were at the camp talking to a resident, Mellow, and others who were about to be evicted. Both Catherine and Kate are members of a student organization called Housing Our Neighbors. (@HONFORHOUSING)
As I was about to leave, a helicopter hovered over the Baltimore Housing Resource Center, and then at least half a dozen Baltimore City Police squad cars pulled up. All the while, it was nice and quiet at Camp 83. It seemed to me like an enormous amount of taxpayer money was directed toward harassing the homeless community instead of serving them.
When I approached the city-run shelter there appeared to be six police officers standing over one cuffed male behind the building. An ambulance approached. The parking lot security officer chased me away before I could ask any questions of the police.
Advocates for the homeless will gather at the encampment, on the west side of the 800 block of the Fallsway (across from Central Booking), at 6:00 am on March 8th to prevent the planned eviction and/or to help move their belongings into housing.