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City plans to clean up homeless camp under Third Street overpass

City tells homeless living under Third Street overpass near Plum Street that the area needs to be vacated in 72 hours (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - There is a plan to clean up the homeless camp under a Third Street overpass. Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney outlined the plan in a memo to Mayor John Cranley and Cincinnati City Council.

The camp is out of sight to many, but not out of mind to city officials. That's the status of about 40 homeless individuals living in this camp.

Some have been homeless for years in different places around town. Others -- much less. A woman who gave her name only as JJ says she's been here a couple of weeks after a series of problems:

"I became an alcoholic about 10 years ago, and I've had multiple traumatic events happen since then. I was in the tornado out in Piner. I was hit by a car. I've had several things happen to me. I was living in a sober-living house and things didn't go well there, and so that's how I ended up here," she said.

A legal notice will be posted and Cincinnati Police officers will hand out notices to those camping on Third Street and Plum. They'll be told they have to move and take their belongings with them. The city legally has to wait 72 hours.

After that time period, Public Services crews will clear, clean and sanitize the area. According to the memo, dirty mattresses and couches have been moved into that area. Those will be taken away. Crews will also remove a "makeshift bathroom", trash and syringes. Personal belongings will be stored with police. The area will be power washed. Crews will put up a fence once the area is cleaned to keep people from moving back in.

City leaders are worried about a possible hepatitis A outbreak. The Health Department was at the camp vaccinating for the disease, as well as working on other medical problems.

"We're trying to make appointments for other health services, such as diabetes, hypertension, depression. We do a full-service health clinics for underserved that are homeless at this time," said Brian Vanderhorst of the Cincinnati Health Network.

Duhaney said those who were displaced can meet with social service providers and move to a temporary shelter.

"We believe this plan is humane, financially responsible and remedies many of the underlying issues related to this matter," he said.

Several agencies are working with City Hall to find both short-term and permanent housing along with basic social services, but Duhaney says that will be a long and complex process.

JJ says she and her boyfriend hope to get an apartment on their own pretty soon.

"We're progressing, you know, to get to someplace Aug. 1, but right now we're still in a holding pattern here," she said.

This planned cleanup does not appear to affect the Third Street homeless camp on Third Street near The Banks and ballparks. However, city leaders plan to focus on that camp next week.

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