Future of homeless people living in Richmond tent city in question

Updated: Jan. 23, 2020 at 7:04 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A community of tents on Oliver Hill Way by Church Hill is home to about 80 people. Dubbed "Camp Cathy,” is right next to a building that’s used as an overflow shelter in the winter.

Reginald Gordon with the city’s Office of Human Services says they’re not able to simply open the shelter for the people of the camp, as the city has certain shelters in place to deal with certain needs.

“We have a wide range of people with problems out here: from mental, to physical, to doing rehab,” said David, a man who lives at the camp.

He has lived here since before September 2019.

″We have rain, we have cold weather, and people are trying their best to endure this," he said.

The camp has received the brunt of the help from Blessing Warriors, a group headed by Rhonda Sneed, which provided all of the tents and continues to gather things like food and clothing for the people here.

The land is actually owned by VCU, and David says the city that’s trying to get them off the land, without offering alternatives that he considers feasible, or a good fit, adding that "it’s a little demeaning to stay at a shelter. Some of the older people, some of the people with injuries. It doesn’t seem like the right place for them.”

The city’s Office of Human Services says it continuously looks for other places for the people to stay.

“This has been going on for years. Right now, we’re going to try and count to get an accurate number of who in our community doesn’t have adequate housing and that helps us allocate resources to meet that need," said Reginald Gordon with the office.

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