HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The City of Harrisburg is extending the deadline for people to move out of the homeless encampment under the Mulberry Street Bridge. City officials said it is crime-ridden and infested with rats, and they want to fix both those problems.
The city had asked residents to leave by the end of the day Thursday, Jan. 19, but now they have the weekend to move. The city said social service groups asked for a few extra days because of the rain expected Thursday.
Social service groups were at the encampment Wednesday afternoon, helping people get ready to move.
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“Yes, we’ll be out here until the job gets done,” said Aisha Mobley, who works with Christian Churches United (CCU). “We have all these groups out here that are coming to help and are taking different shifts of doing different things.”
Nonprofits like CCU are determined to help. Mobley said it has been difficult telling residents they have to leave.
“There was pain, anguish, trauma, people are really entrenched here, have been here for a while,” she said.
However, she said seeing nonprofits continuing to provide services has helped calm things down.
“We come out here regularly, we’ve been out here since April of 2020, coming out here, so they know us,” she said.
Mobley and other groups in the city came out to the encampment Wednesday to hand out moving supplies like bins.
“We’re handing out totes, all different sizes and types of totes, hand warmers, tarps, big sturdy trash bags,” Mobley said. “We have Starfish Ministries, they have offered their vans and trucks.”
Mobley said they are also using the extended deadline to connect people with more services like laundry ahead of the move.
“We know the rain is coming tomorrow, so we want to be able to at least bring them inside for a while, get their laundry cleaned and sealed up tight and ready for the next big move that will be happening on Friday,” she said.
City officials said they will work with their partners in the Capital Area Coalition on Homelessness to relocate people by the end of the weekend. The city does have a new location where people from the encampment can go, but they are not publicizing that location to protect residents’ privacy.