City of New Haven Sets Deadline for Homeless to Leave Camp Near East Rock

New Haven city officials have given the remaining homeless people living at campsite next to the Mill River by East Rock Park the deadline of Thursday, Dec. 15 to pack up and leave.

One couple is not sure where to move next.

The generator in their makeshift tent made out of a blue tarp is how Richard and Lora tryi to keep warm in the winter months.

“Her father gave us the generator and a small little heater,” Richard said.

“Especially being a married couple out here, it’s hard. It’s hard to get a place,” Lora said.

“There’s no anything for married couples,” Richard added.

This campsite near an Interstate 91 off ramp along the river has been this couple’s home since April.

“With us, it's landlords,” Richard said when asked why they live at this campsite.

“I get a partial Social Security check and when my check goes up, the rent goes up,” he said.

The husband and wife learned Wednesday they have until next Thursday to pack up.

Lora said she isn't sure what they will do next. 

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp’s spokesperson, Laurence Grotheer, said city agencies are working to relocate the remaining residents at the campsite.

Community non-profits, like the United Way of Greater New Haven, are also stepping in to help.

“I think we’re all working on the same understanding that the bulldozer will come and those folks are going to lose their homes,” Chief Impact Officer Amy Casavina Hall said.

In the last month, United Way has helped three people move from the homeless camp into new housing, Hall added.

“I think we can and must do better than have people live in an unsafe place,” she added. "It’s not fit for wintertime.”

After recently helping clean up piles of trash, Richard said it is not fair the city is forcing him and his wife to move by next week.

“The messes that we cleaned up out here, none of us in this campsite had anything to do with that,” he said. “We get kicked out everywhere. We get treated like the rotten people that are out here -- some of them -- we’re not.”

The couple said they have initiated the process with the United Way in hopes of finding new housing.

The city is still considering what to do to clean up the area that is on city park land, Grotheer said.

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