SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – “Police call it leaf blowing,” said Wendy Gavin, as she busied herself loading belongings from this homeless encampment onto a truck.
“Because they know they’re just pushing people around in a circle and they’re gonna end back up here,” added Gavin.
This camp, along Victory Road, had anywhere from 50 to 100 people living there. That’s according to Gavin, who runs Unsheltered Utah.
“No one knows where to go,” said Gavin, who helped residents over two days navigate the unknown.
The cycle means that folks will eventually return here, she says, although for now, people will likely disburse to nearby river locations for shade during summer. Often folks will gather under overpasses because that keeps them away from apartments and businesses, which are often sources of complaints to city and county officials.
“No one thinks that these clean-ups are a solution to homelessness,” said Nicholas Rupp with Salt Lake County Health Department.
But, he says, the focus is on environmental reclamation.
“It can affect our ground water, our soil, it’s just not good for our environment or public safety. And so periodically, we need to come out and we need to ensure the space is up to that minimum standard of environmental cleanliness,” said Rupp.