‘Life’s a lot easier’ | Some residents of cleared Louisville camp embrace being homeless | News
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A homeless camp in downtown Louisville is gone, after city crews moved-in and cleaned-up.
Residents were given notice, but one man who lived in the camp and says it’s only a matter of time before the tents come back to the area at Market and Ninth Streets by I-64. .
Homeless people who used to live there were told that the camp wasn’t safe for them or the surrounding community, so residents that were left on Thursday morning hurried to collect what was left. They were given a grace period, as the city delayed the cleaning until noon.
“I don’t understand why they come in here,” said Ray, who had lived at the site for nearly a month. He wasn’t happy about being given 24-hours to vacate.
“You think it would be easier for them to give us the time to get the stuff out like we want to instead of coming in here and turning the dirt over and burying it because we’re just going to come through and dig it up later,” he says.
Ray and his wife raced the clock to gather supplies for his family’s next move before the bobcats and dump trucks moved in. “We’re trying to salvage food and building materials, personal affects,” he explains.
With beds available, community outreach groups helped the displaced people find shelters throughout the week, but for Ray, he says his mental health issues keep him from wanting to go.
“This is not all that bad. You learn that when you have less, life’s a lot easier, a lot simpler.” Ray says he gets a VA check every month and can get housing, if he wanted, but he prefers the outdoors and no bills. “This is real freedom out here. I have no obligations. I don’t have nothing holding over my head.”
So he moves his family around every time the city clears their home, until they find a solid place — which he thinks he has now found. “It’s a game. It’s who plays it better, you know? They played it better here. Hopefully, we play it better where we’re at now,” Ray says.
But for his fellow homeless people who lived at 9th and Market, Ray has no doubt they’ll be back. “It’s always a rotation. They’ll shut this camp down and give it three months, and there will be another camp here.”
The city of Louisville says it’s working on a new outdoor safe space for homeless people. Couples and their pets can go there but no children.
That’s expected to be ready in December.
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