Tramp Camp Jax will be shutting down Tuesday.
The eyesore in the downtown area that has brought many complaints will be eliminated. City officials are evicting the occupants and fencing the grounds where some 150 vagrants have been camping.
Local non-profit agencies are taking in the people.
Contrary to some media reports, there is ample capacity in the local shelters, and has been all along.
The local camp was presenting problems with sanitation throughout the surrounding area and there were reports of trespassing, theft and panhandling.
About a month ago, the city launched “Pathway to Home.” The homeless task force, which includes Changing Homelessness, Sulzbacher Center and other shelters, began placing homeless people from the encampment around Jefferson and Union streets into hotels while they work with them on a case by case basis in an effort to end their homelessness.
Mayor Lenny Curry’s spokesman Nikki Kimbleton told Eye on Jacksonville that people who want to help should not donate money, food and others items directly to these individuals and instead donate to the homeless organizations and shelters.
In addition to Sulzbacher, transients can seek shelter, food and other services at the City Rescue Mission, Trinity Rescue Mission, Clara White Mission and Salvation Army, all near the camp.
“Donating directly is not truly helping. We need to get these men and women connected to services to help them end their homelessness,” Kimbleton said.
At the shelters, homeless people have a wealth of opportunity, including medical, mental health, job training and placement and other services. Some who obtain jobs are helped with finding a home.
Developer Alex Sifakis provided some of the temporary shelter. The Weaver family that formerly owned the Jacksonville Jaguars donated money for storage to store belongings of the homeless, which often is a major concern to them.
One problem is that some people simply are professional bums. They don’t want help or jobs, and they don’t want to follow any rules.
Of 54 offered temporary aid, 48 accepted and were placed in extended stay hotels. Eye has learned that a couple were evicted because they would not follow the rules.
After the camp is closed, 150 more will go through the same process.