Tents Don’t Pop Up on the Green, For Now

by Thomas Breen, May 15, 2024, New Haven Independent

Anthony wasn’t sure where he and his fiancee would spend the night Wednesday. But he did know where they wouldn’t be: in a downtown encampment proposed and ultimately postponed by a group of unhoused activists.

“I’m not staying on the Green,” he said. ​“I’m not getting arrested.”

Pushing a stroller filled with blankets and spare clothing, all quickly soaked through in Wednesday afternoon’s rain, Anthony was one of around 50 people to gather on the Green by Church Street across from City Hall at around 4 p.m. The Unhoused Activists Community Team (U‑ACT) had initially planned on pitching tents and spending the night on the Green, in view of the mayor’s second-floor office at City Hall, to protest past clearings of homeless encampments. …

Brian C. asked the mayor point blank what would happen if the encampment proceeded on the Green as planned.​“Somebody told me if we set up a tent tonight, they’re going to arrest us. Is that true?”
“You’re not allowed to set up tents,” the mayor replied.

“That’s crazy,” Brian said. But will people get arrested?

“If you sleep in a tent and don’t let us remove it, you may get arrested,” Elicker said. Sleeping outside won’t get you arrested, but setting up an unauthorized structure might. … Brian said … he was at The 180 Center warming center on East Street on Tuesday, but that center is now closed for the season. ​“I’m trying to get into an encampment,” he said, ideally the one on Rosette Street behind the Amistad Catholic Worker House, but there might not be enough room.

Mark Colville, who co-runs the Amistad Catholic Worker House, gathered attendees into a circle at around 4:30 to try to figure out as a group what to do next….

Ultimately, at Colville’s suggestion, those gathered agreed to continue organizing in the month ahead, including by going to U‑ACT’s weekly meetings on Friday afternoons at the downtown public library. In a month’s time, Colville said, an even larger group will come back to the Green for a subsequent action uplifting the basic human rights of those with nowhere to sleep but outside.

[Entire article is available here: newhavenindependent.org/article/unhoused_activists]

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