City asking campers at recently re-established 'Occupy Madison' site to leave

2012-11-09T06:00:00Z 2012-11-11T12:15:00Z City asking campers at recently re-established 'Occupy Madison' site to leaveNICO SAVIDGE | Wisconsin State Journal | | 608-252-6143

Nearly two weeks after the homeless residents of Occupy Madison returned to East Washington Avenue, the city of Madison is kicking them out once again.

At the end of October, about a dozen homeless men and women set up tents on the 800 block of East Washington, the same place they spent last winter before they were told to leave in May.

On Wednesday, however, city workers posted "No Trespassing" signs at the site, giving residents until Friday at 3 p.m. to clear it once more. But Madison Police Capt. Carl Gloede met with about 10 people at the site late Thursday, and they agreed to leave the site by 3 p.m. Sunday.

It's not immediately clear where the encampment's 25 residents will go now, said former Ald. Brenda Konkel, who advocates for the homeless.

"They're still deciding what to do," Konkel said. "I think many feel safer staying in a group, (rather) than scattering out into the woods throughout the city."

Signs were also posted at the Union Corners site at East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street in an effort to prevent members from setting up camp farther down the road, Mayor Paul Soglin said. He said the tents violate city ordinances and state regulations governing campgrounds. Soglin said last year that the camp had become a public nuisance and center for crime.

Konkel protested the decision, saying its residents had no other options.

"The bottom line is they will get kicked out wherever they go," she said.

But Soglin said there are enough housing options available for some of the camp's original members. The city made sure local shelters could take in its first 16 residents, he said, although he could not speak for others who have joined it since.

"We know that for at least the first 16 people who arrived, there is housing," Soglin said. "There is a housing system in Madison."

According to Konkel, however, that is not the case.

She said only one of the camp's residents has found a place to stay, while others were either denied or put on waiting lists, and another had been banned from some services.

"There's no shelter available," Konkel said. "It's not like there's services that people just aren't accepting."

Konkel and Madison Police spokesman Joel DeSpain said the department and the camp have a good working relationship and that they did not anticipate having issues clearing it once the deadline comes.

"It hasn't been an 'us vs. them' situation," DeSpain said.

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(10) Comments

  1. DowntownTruth
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    DowntownTruth - November 09, 2012 9:04 am
    ...and if anyone was wondering how an Alderperson can be defeated by someone who began campaigning the year she graduated from college, here you have it.

    I will stop now - 4 in a row is a new record, and Brenda, I admire your passion and you trying to help. You just have no focus. A real advocate for the homeless wouldn't be in the newspaper arguing with law enforcement with excuses as to why (TWICE) it should be OK for this group to violate the law. Furthermore, anyone with sense trying to drum up public interest and compassion might consider changing the name of the "occupation" since, after all, it was started for political reasons nearly none of which have to do with homelessness. Re-squatting on land you were legally removed from isn't a solution, it isn't a way to draw awareness, it is a tactic that only widens the rift between the generally very generous people of Madison who don't believe in lawlessness and those extremists like yourself who, again, are doing more harm than helping. Excuses aren't solutions.
  2. DowntownTruth
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    DowntownTruth - November 09, 2012 8:45 am
    "There's no shelter available," Konkel said. "It's not like there's services that people just aren't accepting."

    ....and illegally squating outdoors on the very same land they were asked to vacate once before is "shelter"? I love it when 'advocates' do more to hurt their cause than help.
  3. DowntownTruth
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    DowntownTruth - November 09, 2012 8:42 am
    There are 275 more homeless people you can count besides this group? If that is the case, why doesn't this "camp" have closer to 300 people? Could it POSSIBLY be because those other 275, while homeless, respect the law? What is so difficult to understand (twice now) about people illegally squatting in this location? Yeah, I get it, homeless people are people too, but have you considered how much they are doing to HURT the perception of those who would be willing to help with this entitlement attitude Brenda? Specifically choosing to go back to the very same place they were asked to leave? How is that a good idea?
  4. DowntownTruth
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    DowntownTruth - November 09, 2012 8:38 am
    Brenda - if what you say is true, and you are so (for whatever reason) passionate about the cause, put your money where your mouth is to help. Pool the money from those "working" and rent out a vacant building. Shoot, if you don't have your home filled with these people then you are doing way more talking than helping. Has anyone considered the cost to the city / county for Obama to visit for 2 hours vs. what those funds could have done to assist this particular cause? Hope and Change!
  5. brendakonkel
    Report Abuse
    brendakonkel - November 09, 2012 8:12 am
    Pesky facts to consider.
    1. We are not moving to a location in the Tenney Lapham Neighborhood.
    2. People on the site are working. Some have jobs, others would LOVE a job. Others have too many medical issues to work. Many people have income, they just can't find a landlord that will rent to them.
    3. 4 formerly homeless people live in my house. I don't have room for 26 more. Or the 275 that come after that.
    4. Only one of the people staying on the site is a panhandler.

  6. brendakonkel
    Report Abuse
    brendakonkel - November 09, 2012 8:08 am
    Pesky facts to consider.
    1. The new location is not in the Tenney Lapham Neighborhood.
    2. Many people have jobs, and income, just can't get housing. Others would LOVE a job - especially something paying more than minimum wage. Others can't work due to medical issues.
    3. 4 formerly homeless people live in my house. My house isn't big enough for 26 more. Or the 275 that come after that.
    4. Only one of the 26 people on the site is a panhandler.
  7. powmda
    Report Abuse
    powmda - November 09, 2012 5:55 am
    As long as Madison thinks it is stylish and trendy to cater to the oddballs, they are going to be plagued with oddballs.
  8. ttt3
    Report Abuse
    ttt3 - November 08, 2012 10:37 pm
    Re: "Housing is a human right" sign on the tent photo - sure sounds like entitlement mentality to me. Would like to know what these people are contributing to society. If they're working and can't afford housing, that's one thing, but I suspect that isn't the case with the majority of these folks. Just saying.
  9. River
    Report Abuse
    River - November 08, 2012 10:35 pm
    I can name 4 parks they'll end up
    in on the East side. Konkel is really starting to lose us as its become more and more apparent that the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood is just being used to harbor this mess. We don't all agree.
  10. Mr LaMarr
    Report Abuse
    Mr LaMarr - November 08, 2012 9:42 pm
    They need to get a J.O.B. and quit being drunks and panhandling Brenda! Move them into ur place if u don't like the other options. You deal with the fallout, and ur eviction!!!

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