After more than a week of back and forth with homeless advocates, crews cleaned the tunnel under Fort Washington Way.
Sounds of machinery, brooms and vacuums filled the Third Street and Plum Street tunnel Tuesday, as homeless advocates like Brian Garry rushed to save what was left.
“Their stuff is just being thrown away like they don’t deserve to be retreated with respect and dignity,” Garry said.
What had been a living headquarters for the homeless was now a hollow reminder of the people who had been living there for months.
“This could be your mother, your father, your sister. This is not how they are supposed to be treated,” Garry said.
Drivers like Sai Deegudla walk under the tunnel every day. He said drivers have been avoiding the area.
Deegudla was pleasantly surprised at the cleaning progress.
“Maybe the last three or four months, you see people here bringing their tents and they are sleeping here. I was afraid when I would parking here then I would walk through this bridge. I was literally afraid sometimes,” Deegudla said.
Garry has been homeless before and says he knows how it feels to be discounted.
“In 2003 I was part of a federal lawsuit where we took the city of Cincinnati to court. It is called Don Henry vs the city of Cincinnati. We went all the way to the supreme court. It resulted in policy 12.111 which is part of our city’s code. If you look in back of us, they are not going in accordance to procedure,” Garry said.
As new barriers line the tunnel, Deegudla said this is a step in the right direction for the city.
Garry says this doesn’t fix the city’s housing conundrum.
“The camp that was involved in the federal lawsuit in 2003 was like 15 people. There are 100 people down here. In 15 years our homeless population has exponentially exploded and is 5 times bigger than it was,” Garry said.
The city manager has promised the city will continue working with the homeless from Tent City to find them a more permanent housing solution.
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