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City of Harrisburg evicts occupants of homeless encampment near Capital Greenbelt

Fifteen people were evicted for trespassing on private property along the Capital Greenbelt near Shanois Street.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Just out of sight from cyclists riding along the Capital Greenbelt near Shanois Street, 15 people have been living in the woods near the trail for the last five months.

“This is the second time we’re being asked to leave," said Paul, who lived at the encampment. "The first was from underneath the Mulberry Bridge, the second is the encampment here behind the Greenbelt.”

Occupants were given until 3:00 p.m. on Thursday to leave the area. Paul said people are left scrambling to find places to stay.

“They don’t know if they’re going to lay down and the police will shine a flashlight in their face, saying, ‘Hey, there’s a no trespassing sign. You’re trespassing, you’re going to Dauphin County Prison tonight,'" said Paul.

“The landowner there asked us to get the people off that property because it’s his land," said Matt Maisel, communications director for the City of Harrisburg.

The City of Harrisburg sent the eviction notice to the encampment two weeks ago for trespassing on private property along the Capital Greenbelt. Maisel said the city will not set up another location for homeless residents, claiming officials are looking for more permanent solutions.

“The city is committed to ending unsheltered, homelessness and it’s very important to talk about that here," said Maisel.

Last month, Harrisburg-area nonprofits were awarded $2.3 million in federal funding to fight homelessness. However, Paul says Harrisburg’s homeless population has yet to see those resources.

“The rapid re-housing program is not so rapid," said Paul. "[The people from the homeless encampment] feel as though these organizations are playing a smoke-and-mirrors game, telling the press one thing that 'We’re helping these people,' but then nothing."

FOX43 reached out to the Capital Area Coalition on Homelessness for comment, but they did not respond.

Paul says he and the others from the encampment simply want a place to call their own.

“We want to get out of here, but some of us don’t have the resources to get out.”

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