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Group urges Madison officials to keep homeless camp open

November 26, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A community group is urging officials in Madison to back off on plans to shut down a homeless encampment in a city park.

City officials have posted notices that camping won’t be allowed in Reindahl Park on Madison’s east side after Dec. 6 and all tents, structures and belongings must be removed from the park by Dec. 9. The encampment has seen more than 70 people at times and has been declared unsanitary, unhealthy and unsafe after a number of attacks and overdoses, a stabbing nd a shooting.

The city wants to move people living in the park into shelters and a hotel. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that volunteer group Community Action Against Reindahl Eviction issued a statement Wednesday asking the city to halt the eviction.

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One of the group’s members, Pearl Foster said the shelters and the hotel don’t have enough space for all the Reindahl campers and it shouldn’t be a problem to keep the park open because it’s not used for winter sports.

Linette Rhodes, the city’s community development grants supervisor, said the city doesn’t want anyone sleeping outside during the winter and she’s confidant that all campers will have a place to go as the city shuts down the park.