Judge’s homeless camp ban becomes permanent;13th and Republic camp clears out

OTR camp begins to disband as ban on camps becomes permanent (WKRC)

OVER-THE-RHINE, Ohio (WKRC) - Hours after a common pleas judge’s temporary restraining order banning homeless camps became permanent, Cincinnati’s largest homeless camp cleared out.

Judge Robert Ruehlman’s order allows police and sheriff’s deputies to arrest homeless camp residents if they refuse to leave. About 10:30 a.m., Cincinnati Police officers made an appearance at the camp known as “The Colony” but had no plans to start making arrests.

“We have that option under the order, but, as you can see with the issue along Third Street and the Jack Casino, we have not made a single arrest,” Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate told reporters across 13th Street from the camp. “The Cincinnati Police does not want to be seen as criminalizing homelessness. That is not our intent.”

Neudigate and a few other officers kept an eye on things as the homeless and a handful of homeless advocates tore down tents and loaded them in pickup trucks.

“The problem now is people are scattered and it will be harder for them to get the resources they need,” said advocate Brian Garry. “Where are they going? They are going all over the place. Every crack and crevice where they can’t be seen. Under a bush or a bridge.”

Several residents of the homeless camp have found temporary housing. Others have not.

“I filled out paperwork for housing two-and-a-half years ago and I’m still out here,” said Jessica Barnett as she waited for a truck to load up her tent, tarps and rolling suitcase. “I’ll just go and go until I fall asleep and hope I don’t get arrested. That’s pretty much what it’s come down to.”

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