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.