KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Homeless people who have been camped out downtown and in Westport are concerned that the city may soon forcibly remove them after a city spokesman said the camps have become a public health and safety issue.
The homeless campsite on the front lawn of city hall is now surrounded by a plastic safety fence, which was installed by the campers early Monday morning as part of an attempt to prevent themselves from being removed.
The leader of Kansas City’s Homeless Union claims someone from City Hall posted an ordinance at their campsite, which says tenting on any unenclosed lot is prohibited.
The fencing is the homeless union’s attempt to enclose their lot so the ordinance can’t be used as reason to remove them.
Campers say they’re upset by a city spokesman’s comments saying “it is time for people to take advantage of existing services in shelters and at non-profit agencies.”
A source at the police department tells FOX 4 that officers have not been asked to take any enforcement action to remove the homeless camps.
“A lot of people left their camp and left their stuff because of anxiety attacks,” said Qadhafi, leader of the KC Homeless Union. “They feel traumatized. This is an act of terror to do homeless people like this. They are already homeless. To make them think the bogeyman is coming and they’re not coming, and they may come.”
City Communications Director Chris Hernandez says weapons have been confiscated at the campsites, including a firearm, and bodily fluids and other waste have created health risks for those at the sites.
Qadhafi claims the camp is part of a political protest and homeless campers want to continue to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest city housing policies.