- Associated Press - Saturday, August 9, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Those remaining in homeless camps along the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers will soon be evicted.

Those in the homeless camps will have about a week before Des Moines city officials survey their campsites and force them to leave with their belongings, The Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/X8QHkB ) Saturday.

Earlier this month, an administrative law judge ruled that the city can legally evict homeless residents who received notices. Residents camped by the rivers had until Friday to leave before the city could take action to remove them.

Des Moines Community Development Director Phil Delafield says that beginning the week of Aug. 18, the city will clean vacated campsites and tell people still there to leave with their personal belongings.

Police will accompany city surveyors, in case there is any resistance.

Delafield bristled at the term “eviction” to describe the city’s plan.

“What we’re arguing here isn’t criminalization of homelessness,” Delafield said. “What we’re saying is, it’s an inappropriate use of public space to put private belongings.”

About 40 people will be affected by the ruling, said Shelby Ridley, a case manager with Primary Healthcare Inc., a nonprofit community health center. Primary Healthcare is preparing for an influx of the homeless needing help, but Ridley said it is challenging to find an affordable home or shelter with available beds.

“The consequence is that they don’t know where they’re going to sleep, which is a struggle for a lot of people,” Ridley said. “Some people have been down there for a few weeks, and some people have been down there for a few years, and it’s their home.”

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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