NewsCovering Kentucky

Actions

Group Wants Ordinance Giving Notice Before Tearing Down Homeless Camps

Posted: 6:19 PM, May 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-15 18:19:40-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The homeless community in Lexington wants legal action taken to give them more time before their camps are torn down.

Advocates are asking for at least 21 days’ notice in an official ordinance. The city said making this law could be illegal.

At a committee meeting Tuesday, stories of loss were shared by people experiencing homelessness in Lexington. They talked about losing clothes, blankets, birth certificates, personal items, identification and more when camps are taken down.

A group of people now want legal action taken to ensure that the City of Lexington gives people enough notice before they tear down homeless camps. They also want to make sure that during the winter months, no tear downs happen at all.

“What happened this winter was egregious. There were six camps taken down three days before the polar vortex or four days. Yes, it was 50 degrees those days, but we all knew there was an arctic blast coming,” said Ginny Ramsey, director of the Catholic Action Center.

While the request for more time may seem simple enough, the city says there are some complications.

“It may be illegal for us to write the ordinance the way it has been suggested,” said Polly Ruddick with the Officer of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention. “If you and I went camping in one of our parks, the police cannot say, ‘You don’t look homeless, you don’t seem homeless; therefore we’re arresting you for criminal trespass’ when 2-feet over someone who they deem looks homeless, they allow to stay.”