HARRISBURG, Pa. — After a weekend of cleanup and removal of homeless encampments under the Mulberry Street Bridge, city officials will meet for a press conference at the MLK Jr. City Government Center on Monday.
After a deadline extension due to weather, the site was cleared out Sunday, Jan. 22. A relocation site was provided to the people living under the bridge, but that location has not been disclosed to the public.
FOX43 has been told the proposed location is near the Capital Area Greenbelt, which is popular for walkers, runners and bikers. David Misner, public relations and communication chair for the Capital Area Greenbelt Association, said in a statement that they were reassured the relocation is temporary, and the organization is looking forward to working with the city.
According to Harrisburg’s director of communications, Matt Maisel, those who chose not to leave the location site will be convinced to leave by Harrisburg police, however, no arrests will be made.
Maisel said the city budgeted $6.9 million for sanitation pick up in 2023, up from $6.3 million in 2019. He says the city spent $5,629 to pick up more than 25 tons of trash in homeless encampments in a 10-day period in December.
Around 50 people had occupied Mulberry Street under the bridge. The city cited many reasons for the encampment's removal.
City officials said the area has gotten 16 separate emergency calls for multiple drug overdoses, assaults, prostitution and one homicide since November.
However, most of those crimes were not committed by occupants under the bridge, but rather by other people coming into the encampment, according to Harrisburg Bureau of Police Chief Thomas Carter.
Officials also said that dozens of large rats have prevented sanitation workers from clearing the trash.
On Martin Luther King’s Day of Service, a group of volunteers spent the morning cleaning up the homeless encampment.