City of Norfolk forces homeless residents on 19th Street to move

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — There’s only a handful of tents still up off 19th Street in Norfolk. 

It’s a location many homeless residents made a temporary home just across the Salvation Army on a thin sliver of grass earlier this year. 

Many left after the city of Norfolk’s outreach teams notified residents Friday they had to leave the site. The city spokesperson says it is a violation of the city code to put tents and structures in the city’s right of way.  

The city says they were given a backpack and letter that directs them to the full-service temporary shelter at the former Greyhound site if they choose.  

The old Greyhound bus station on Brambleton Avenue was converted into a temporary shelter for homeless adults earlier this month. 

City officials say with the new shelter, these residents now have a safe location to get food, shower, have access to a bathroom and services if they so choose.  

Those living there also received a copy a letter from the city which says in part:

“While The Interim Homeless Center at Greyhound is currently at capacity, we are providing an exception for you to go to the center for sheltering if you choose.  This letter provides you with admission to the shelter starting May 21, 2021, and is good through Friday, May 28, 2021, for your first night of check-in. “

The letter also explained anything left behind off 19th street will be considered abandoned.

KEEP-VA-WARM, a group that collects and distributes winter items to the homeless, took to their Facebook page yesterday saying they were helping move the homeless individuals. 

They posted 12 to 15 tents were on 19th street and 28 people to help relocate. Another post, says the group put some of those affected in a hotel. 

You can read the city’s full letter below:

“The Community Services Board Outreach Team is offering assistance with your relocation.  While The Interim Homeless Center at Greyhound is currently at capacity, we are providing an exception for you to go to the center for sheltering if you choose. 

This letter provides you with admission to the shelter starting May 21, 2021 and is good through Friday, May 28, 2021 for your first night of check-in. The check-in door is the glass front door facing Brambleton Ave between Granby and Monticello. 

You may not be able to be assigned a tent at first, but we will offer you safe place to be overnight and services during the day. All other homeless center rules apply, so please be reminded of the following:

  • We strongly encourage you to come to the center during the afternoon prior to the evening that you want to check-in, but you must arrive before 7pm. 
  • Once evening check-in is complete, you must remain on-site through the night to stay the rest of the night.
  • We are providing you with an additional backpack and remind you that you can bring only a very limited amount of belongings with you.
  • 100% bag checks is in place to ensure the safety of all – no alcohol, non-prescription substances, or weapons are allowed. If you have work tools we can secure them for you at the center.
  • If you have workhours that prevent you from checking in at night, please come to the center during the day to discuss your need for a different check-in time.

Before you leave, please place anything you no longer want in or next to the city trash bins (including tents, bedding, and tarps that you are abandoning). Anything you leave behind or leave on the site will be considered abandoned. 

The city encourages individuals who would like to volunteer at the shelter or donate meals/snacks to contact the Urban Renewal Center.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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