NASHVILLE, TN — Despite warnings the camp would be cleared Thursday, Metro Nashville Police said there are no plans to arrest anyone staying at Ellington Camp, one of the largest homeless camps in the city.
Police say they’ve received complaints about drug use, public sex, vandalism, harassment and littering at the site below the Ellington Parkway and Spring Street overpasses on property owned by the state department of transportation. In addition, police say there’s evidence of a significant rat infestation at the camp, currently home to more than two dozen people, many of whom relocated there after being forced off private property last year.
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Lindsey Krinks, Open Table Nashville co-founder, told The Tennessean that the problems aren’t with the larger encampment, which she said has numerous couples living together and a "code of conduct," but with a smaller group of 10 or so people nearby.
Krinks said many of the people are unable to find housing in shelters because most won’t accept couples and that she and other homeless advocates are willing to be arrested, as well, if it comes to that.
In contrast to an early homeless camp clearance at Ft. Negley, where, in 2016, six people were cited for overnight camping and their tents and belongings bulldozed, Mayor David Briley’s office said no final decision on the camp’s status will be made until a broad assessment of the site, to include police, members of the city’s homeless commission, public works and codes, is complete.
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