Metro Louisville

Louisville officials posted eviction notices at several downtown tent communities Tuesday morning. People living along Jackson, Jefferson, Preston, Main, Market, Hancock and Liberty Streets will have to gather their belongings and relocate before the morning of Wednesday, October 6.

J. Tyler Franklin | wfpl.org

In a press release, city officials said the camps pose health and safety risks to people living there and in the surrounding communities. This action comes about a month after officials picked up assessments and clearings of camps across town, as part of what they said would be a multi-phase effort to transition people to more stable housing.

An outreach service provider said the six-to-eight block area is home to about 200 residents and is part of what is known as the broader “Wayside” unsheltered encampment. The tent communities are near the Wayside Christian Mission shelter.

In a press conference Tuesday, city officials said they counted 69 residents during an assessment of the camps but added that number fluctuates as people move through either the shelter system or to other camps across the city.

The city said it partnered with The Healing Place, a recovery center and shelter, to provide 12 beds and four peer support workers, and with Seven Counties Services to offer two more support staffers and services like mental health and substance abuse assistance.

Tameka Laird, director of the city’s Office of Resilience and Community Services, said local officials are working to address  concerns over the lack of available shelter beds for residents being evicted from encampments.

“Wayside Christian Mission has graciously ━ graciously ━ agreed to accept any overflow if shelters need bed capacity,” Laird said. “Wayside will make allowances for anyone who comes in [who] needs shelter, including those who have been placed on existing ban-lists.”

Laird said the city also expanded an existing partnership with social services nonprofit Wellspring to offer additional support and outreach.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against clearing homeless encampments during the pandemic when individual housing options aren’t available, which is the case right now in Louisville. Housing advocates also raised concerns this summer about the evictions posing risks to public health.

This story has been updated.

Yasmine Jumaa is WFPL’s race and equity reporter.