SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)— Dozens of Utahns experiencing homelessness were forced to clean up and move their camps from downtown Salt Lake City Tuesday.
Salt Lake County Health Department with local law enforcement conducted a weekly community clean up event.
Signs posted downtown asked campers to be cleared out by 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday and anything left behind would be destroyed.
“It makes me feel horrible. Like we do not have no place to go [sic], we do not have no homes [sic]; we do not have no place to go [sic]. The shelters are over packed,” homeless resident Sara Enwhistle said.
According to Utah Code 26A, camping on private or public property is prohibited unless the area is licensed or zoned accordingly.
The group Civil Riot says folks who camp downtown have no place else to go and destroying their property could be deadly.
“They do not realize this is the last thing that we have, family heirlooms. I have lost everything so many times,” homeless resident Jaron Taylor said.
The Health Department says it gave folks 24 hours notice and called nearby shelters to make sure there was capacity for an influx of people.
Keeping the community clean and safe was top priority. Officials cleared away 40 shopping carts from the area.
“Unfortunately, we find human waste, syringes, and other things that present health risks which is why we conduct these cleanups,” Nick Rupp Salt Lake County Health Department said.
Law enforcement says often times cleanups can turn violent but say there were no major issues at this one.
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