'Being poor is a crime punishable by death': Homeless weigh in on camp cleanup

'Being poor is a crime punishable by death': Homeless weigh in on camp cleanup

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Public leaders are continuing to dig into Louisville's homelessness issues.

At Wednesday's Public Safety Committee meeting, council members decided to table a discussion about a new ordinance that would protect homeless camps from getting cleaned up without warning.

It would require 21 days written notice at the camp and to the Coalition for the Homeless. Personal belongings left behind or recovered will be stored for 30 days.

Some people living on the street said their belongings at the camp at Preston and Jefferson St. were thrown away, including food stamps, IDs and personal family photographs.

"They told us to leave and then took our stuff and put it on the garbage can," a man who didn't wish to be identified told us.

Signs are posted on the underpasses warning people the camps will be cleaned up and trespassing there is illegal. The camps will be cleaned up by Dec. 20, according to the signs.

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Chad, who lives under the underpass at Brook and Jacob Streets, said getting rid of the camp won't get rid of the homelessness problem. He said some shelters are full and the underpass is a place to sleep during the day and try to stay safe at night.

"Them throwing me out of here does not eradicate the problem," Chad said. "I do not disappear or evaporate once you throw me out of here. All you'll cause is more displacement."

Chad said there is a serious a misconception about the folks living in these camps.

"We're not bums," Chad said. "I didn't choose this. I don't want to live off you I don't want free eats."

Chad said there are many people that aren't far from away from life on the street and he ended up in his tent after losing his job.

"Life will come to you and you will realize that this is very possible," Chad said. "Being poor is a crime punishable by death. Because people die out here."

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