While Hamilton police have been offering resources to homeless people living in a tent camp near Hamilton Plaza not far from Dixie Highway, they also have been telling them they will have to leave the area by the end of this month.
“We have communicated clearly to the people back there over the past few months, you are on private property and the private-property owner wants you off,” Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit told the Journal-News, which first reported in March about the homeless tent city known as The Hill.
Police have been working with the homeless to help them find housing options, he said.
“If you’re here past the end of September, we’re going to have to take action,” he said the camp occupiers were told. “That’s kind of the marching orders we’ve given them.”
Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller, who this past spring convened a task force to try to resolve the issue, and was to hold another meeting of the group this month, was not immediately available to comment.
“Several times a week, we’re down there, saying, ‘Listen, you realize you’ve got to go. You’re on private property. The property owner wants you off, and so you need to leave,” Bucheit said.
That’s one reason Hamilton, Butler County and a variety of service organizations earlier this month offered a resources fair for the homeless near the tent camp.
One advocate for the homeless who did not want to be identified — with concern it could place them in an awkward position between the police and the tent residents — said people in the camp have been told they would be charged with trespassing if they remain after the end of the month.
Service providers have given residents contact information. Social workers have visited. Another resource offering may happen before the deadline passes.
“We said, ‘You know what? Let’s go the extra mile and let’s actually bring all the social-service agencies right down there, and so everybody in the camp came out and engaged with all those workers,” Bucheit said. “I think we’ll end up doing that again by the end of September, and at that point, we’ve gone above and beyond, made every effort to connect the folks that are there to services and resources they need. And then there is that deadline, of, ‘You do have to vacate the property.’”
“What I hope is between now and the end of September, everybody up there finds some permanent housing,” Bucheit said. “Through our efforts and the efforts of a multitude of agencies and individuals, everyone there is under roof — they’ve been placed in some emergency or temporary housing, and when we go up there, there’s nobody there.”