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New Haven ‘Tent City' Dismantled, Residents Voluntarily Move Out: Mayor

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A tent city along the West River in New Haven was dismantled Thursday morning.

There have been eight people living in the encampment.

New Haven initially told the residents they would be evicted at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. City leaders later said they would give the people living there more time to move out.

City leaders ordered the evictions over safety concerns in the area. Mayor Justin Elicker said there was evidence of open burns in the encampment, the fire marshal found propane tanks, and that there was an illegally built shower at the property.

Elicker said the city had worked to get the residents into shelters or other housing options once they left the encampment.

One resident told NBC Connecticut on Wednesday that he was recently released from jail and that he suffered from PTSD. He said a shelter wouldn't work for him.

“I can’t do it anymore with the bunks and being in that situation,” he said. “People got mental disorders and I feel threatened. I’m better off just being by myself.”

Todd and Suki Godek shared the same thoughts. And the couple added that the shelters aren’t co-ed, and they’d have to give up their belongings to spend just nights at the shelter.

“There’s the lack of privacy, there’s a lot of different people with mental health issues in a small space that it’s actually worse than if you were living on the street,” Suki said.

When city officials arrived at 7 a.m. Thursday, there were three residents and one activist at the "tent city" site. Mayor Elicker said the three residents voluntarily agreed to leave. Two of them planned to stay in a shelter Thursday night and the third planned to stay with a friend.

The activist refused to leave and was arrested, Elicker said.

Workers then moved in and dismantled the encampment.

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