Philadelphia/ Community & Society
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Published on May 10, 2024
Philadelphia’s Kensington Avenue Encampments Cleared as 59 Individuals Accept Housing and Care in City InitiativeSource: Unsplash/ TopSphere Media

Philadelphia's streets saw a triumphant moment as the City wrapped up its initiative to clear the Kensington Avenue homeless encampments, a district notorious for its battles with drug abuse and homelessness. In a 34-day effort that culminated on May 8, the City reported that 59 individuals accepted offers of housing and services in a bid to mitigate the overdose crisis plaguing Philadelphia.

Mayor Parker hailed the project's success, extending kudos to City workers and agencies for their role. "Throughout the process, no one was arrested, and 59 people came off the streets and into care,", "That’s in line with Mayor Parker’s vision for the restoration of Kensington and any neighborhood where people are suffering and in need," Chief Public Safety Director Adam Geer remarked, as mentioned in a press briefing after the completion of the encampment resolution.

As part of their strategy, City employees collaborated with neighborhood non-profits to link those in need to an array of services ranging from housing assistance to medical care. Notably, 55 individuals secured housing assistance which included low barrier shelters and recovery-focused programs, according to a City of Philadelphia announcement. Beyond this, outreach teams took care of 88 patients, treating over 1,200 wounds during a specialized extended outreach period.

"Our outreach teams are Philadelphia’s unsung heroes, and they all put their heart and soul into every engagement," said Noelle Foizen, Overdose Response Unit (ORU) Director. The City's initiative also catered to those suffering from complex wounds, ensuring medical care even to individuals who declined other forms of aid. These patients were addressed during after-hours outreach from April 9 to May 7, an effort that also helped facilitate 32 placements, based on the ORU Director's statement.

Mayor Parker and her administration continued to engage residents beyond the enclosure efforts. In a recent town hall in Kensington, attended by over 250 community members, she laid out her budget plans to build a comprehensive system for care, treatment, and housing of people coping with substance addiction, mental health issues, and homelessness. "Do I have your permission to develop and implement that Plan for Philadelphia?" she inquired, receiving a supportive response from the audience.