Late Sunday afternoon, I parked in the Catholic Charities parking lot, and walked up Morgan Street to W. Ninth Street. In addition to a few people at the Drop-In Center, a couple who appeared to have been living in their car - were arguing about the need to leave the area that night. He wanted to go to sleep, she wanted to go somewhere else and not chance the police sweep in the morning. Half-hour later, on the way back down on the other side of the street, I saw they had left. Almost everyone on Morgan had heard about the impending sweep. They asked if I knew when exactly it would happen, I told them tomorrow morning, but didn’t know how early.
I let sleepers alone, and there were four between Morgan and Depot Park. Heading west across the Third Street Bridge, and then south to the creek, I found a few more hanging out next to the Prince Memorial Greenway. They were young and wanted to know everything. What’s this judge ruling? What if I’ve been to Sam Jones, and can’t stay there? How often can I get into my stuff if they take it?
I had another hour to search, so I said goodnight, and headed down the trail. And just as the sun was setting, I found the last western SR couple down near the creek in a pretty complete tent site. I made sure they knew about both the sweep, and Homeless Action!. Before I left, we also told each other all we knew about the two red-shouldered hawks which were living above them.
Monday morning early , i repeated the walk. The difference was the large gathering at the Drop-In Center picking up mail and waiting for interviews. After checking in by phone with Adrienne, and learning there was a crowd at Olive Park, I retraced my route to make sure my friends were up and alerted. Same locations, with a few more hanging out. All were ready, but not sure where they’d go. It seemed like the Police were moving east to west down the Greenway. I asked Sgt Wolfe how far they were going. He said probably not further than the railroad tracks before Pierson Street, and eventually i gave everyone west of where they stopped the word that they were safe today. But I advised them to keep the litter and garbage off the trail, as it will identify their encampments. And that will bring complaints from the cyclists, and eventually police. I reminded them of the weekly meetings of HA! at FUMC on Montgomery Drive on Monday morning at 9:30am.