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PHOTOS: City Crews Clear Large Downtown Louisville Homeless Camp

Homeless Camp Clearing by J. Tyler Franklin, Louisville Public Media-081623
Photo by J. Tyler Franklin

The city has cleared one of Louisville’s largest homeless camps, leaving some wondering where to go next.

Crews arrived early Monday morning to clean the camp at the intersection of Jefferson and Jackson streets, under the highway overpass. Cory Wright watched as city workers and inmate laborers hauled clothes, crates and bed frames into trash compactors. Wright has called this camp home since he moved here from Miami two months ago. Now he is unsure where to go next, and feels like the city doesn’t care for homeless people.

“I was just now getting settled in — getting used to everything. Now I’ve got to go,” Wright said. “We’re just going to be in another predicament like we [are in] right now. We’re going to go to one place and then they’re going to tell us, ‘Look, you’ve got to go.’”

Louisville Metro Chief Resilience Officer Eric Friedlander said this camp was the biggest the city has cleared this year.

“We’re going to continue to work with all the providers here in Louisville and all the street outreach folks here in Louisville to give as many options as possible,” Friedlander said.

The city has shut down many homeless camps over the years, but an ordinance passed last year requires officials to give camp residents a 21-day notice before doing so.

As for those worried about where to go next, Friedlander said the city is working to provide shelters and storage. But he said the city must consider the needs of people using the sidewalks, too.

“It’s a balancing act between wanting to be as compassionate as we can as a city and responsible as we can as a city, and there’s no perfect balance,” Friedlander said.

He expects more camps will be shut down this spring.

This post has been updated to clarify that inmate workers were used by the city to clear the camp.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.