Deadline approaches for clearing out Kensington homeless encampment

KENSINGTON (WPVI) -- Wednesday is the deadline imposed by the city for the people living in homeless encampments in Kensington to pack up and move out.

Many civic groups were on hand Tuesday to offer support like prayer, food and options to live elsewhere and get sober.

City Councilman Mark Squilla also present, saying a lot has been accomplished in the last 30 days.

"When we cleaned out the Conrail site they had no outreach for thirty days, they had no people putting them in the respite centers or into drug treatment facilities, they just cleaned it up," he said. "This is a whole other process."

Squilla said in this transition period at least 100 people from the camp have been moved to special housing and treatment facilities. The goal is to get them help and help the fed up residents.

Some of the funding comes from this year's budget and city council has asked for more.

"It's just total lawlessness and this is even worse because this is where people have to walk by with their children and go to school," he said. "To see people defecating, urinating, having sex and committing crimes right in front of them."

At times tensions were high between those living in the tent community and the neighborhood.

"I'm looking forward to it," said Committee member Michael Marko. "I've been a committee person for forty years there and my residents can't come out of their front doors there."

But even frustrated residents say they are understanding of how the city is trying to tackle this.

"We know this problem isn't get rid of them and get better. No, We have to find options for them to get better," said Kensington resident Brian White. "But one option I know isn't going to get them better is staying under here, having them openly be able to do drugs."

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