The National Park Service is finally enforcing its “no-camping regulation” in Washington, D.C., after years of ignoring homeless tent cities on federal land, The Spectator reported Tuesday.
According to the outlet, the NPS will work with local social services to clear out all encampments on national park land by the end of 2023, providing drug treatments, mental health care, and housing for those in need.
Fox News noted that park service cleared tent cities over the past month in McPherson Square and Scott Circle, with Union Station receiving attention from the federal agency before President Joe Biden’s speech there.
But controversy arose last Friday when the NPS removed an encampment at Fort Reno Park, with local activists showing up to protest the so-called “evictions” of homeless squatters.
“Park residents are being evicted with only a week’s notice during hypothermia season as temperatures begin to plummet,” read a flyer posted to Reddit. “Call Rock Creek Park NPS and Eleanor Holmes Norton and demand this dangerous and inhumane eviction be stopped.”
The service later confirmed in an email to The Spectator that the park had to be closed after “numerous” reports of criminality, thus prompting the agency to act.
“The United States Park Police reported numerous instances of criminal activity and violence related to the encampment at Fort Reno, and closing the encampment allowed the NPS to ensure the safety of the general public and those living in the encampment,” an NPS spokesperson stated.
“Social service organizations are working with two individuals to provide access to cold-weather shelters until they are provided with permanent housing,” the NPS spokesperson continued. “The other two individuals are working with additional social service organizations to receive longer-term transitional housing.”
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