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Cincinnati's Homeless Population

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Courthouse wants homeless moved

 

via the Cincinnati Enquirer

 

Thousands of people walk through the doors of the Hamilton County Courthouse every weekday morning: Jurors, defendants, lawyers and judges, all on court business.

 

But overnight, the courthouse plaza becomes Cincinnati’s de facto homeless camp.

 

That’s about to end. Hamilton County’s Sheriff’s Major Charmaine McGuffey told The Enquirer that deputies will soon evict the squatters – who defecate and urinate on the courthouse plaza.

 

“We don’t want to get mired down in too much political debate,” she said. “It’s a public health hazard.”

 

The article is actually pretty lengthy. It seems like better enforcement to keep people from relieving themselves on the grounds and actually using the restroom provided would suffice.

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Interesting that the article says that Hamilton County has about 750 homeless any given night, with about 700 of them sleeping in shelters and the rest in places like the courthouse.  I'm glad to see that they're going to hire another street outreach worker to get through to these guys, but some of them can't go to the Drop Inn Center because of past issues... what's the long-term solution here? :/

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Seems like there needs to be a last resort shelter that can take the worst of the worst.  If the Drop Inn Center cannot accept those with sexual assualt records, then they end up sleeping on the courthouse steps. 

 

Some of these guys are required to register with the Sheriff and when you look at their records online you will see that they even list the courthouse as their residence.  Sometimes it will even say "alley behind courthouse" or some similar place, because they have no legal place to stay.

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The taxpayers shouldn't have to tolerate people that are so disrespectful that they would urinate in the entrance of a building on a regular basis.  It's just gross, and I have always been shocked at how many years this has been going on.

I applauded the approach they want to take here.  I hope they find success.

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No one wants to donate money to or fund a shelter that accepts those that are pretty much at the bottom of the barrel. Those with sexual assault records or other horrific records are generally barred from many shelters, and there are also those who just refuse to go to a shelter because of the rules. Which are pretty lenient to begin with. There really isn't a good solution.

 

When I lived in OTR just a block from the courthouse, I purposely avoided walking through the courthouse area and along Court Street because of the aggressive panhandling, some mugging incidents (not me, but of several friends) and general lawlessness in that part of downtown at night. It made me and my girlfriend at the time very nervous and with good reason.

 

So what do you do? Some cities have banned homelessness in certain areas - and those caught are cited, arrested and so forth which really doesn't solve the issue. It just puts them in taxpayer supported jails that offer no treatment options or a way out. Others bus them back to where they came from (e.g. some cities shipped their homeless to Cincinnati for years - and some still do). Others clear them out and force them to move onward.

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This morning on 3rd street around FWW and the area under the overpass (where the redbike station is) there was a much larger than normal number of homeless people. I've lived down on 4th street for the past 4 years and I have not seen something like this. Multiple tents were set up along the street and under the bridge. There was a police officer just standing there watching the group under the overpass. It really looked like the tent cities that have popped up in places like San Francisco. Is this just because it's warm? I have not seen this many people living there (or in tents) and there seemed to be a lot of new faces.

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This morning on 3rd street around FWW and the area under the overpass (where the redbike station is) there was a much larger than normal number of homeless people. I've lived down on 4th street for the past 4 years and I have not seen something like this. Multiple tents were set up along the street and under the bridge. There was a police officer just standing there watching the group under the overpass. It really looked like the tent cities that have popped up in places like San Francisco. Is this just because it's warm? I have not seen this many people living there (or in tents) and there seemed to be a lot of new faces.

 

It has progressively gotten worse the past couple months. But alot of people didnt realize that most of these folks were living in the Dunnhumby loading dock area of their old building prior to demolition. After the Bengals season wrapped up these folks took over the plum street tunnel. I know this past week for the first time in a long time co-workers cars were being broken into in the middle of the day in the monthly lot next door.

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I stood around for a bit and watched a tent go up on 3rd Street on Wednesday. A guy in an older F150 was unloading equipment, furniture, blankets, etc. and another guy was setting up his camp. I didn't see it start, but it looked like he had been driven there and dropped off. The truck had Kentucky plates.

 

There are always homeless hanging around under the overpasses, especially after the Drop Inn relocated to Gest Street - but I don't remember ever seeing this many tents set up in the 7 years I've worked on 3rd Street.

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All the construction going on at the I-71 and I-471 overpasses near Eggleston and Mt. Adam's retaining wall has displaced a lot of the homeless that used to camp over there as well. I don't think the numbers are necessarily up, just that they are concentrated in a smaller area.

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It's embarrassing that the city lets them camp out on 3rd st.  The first thing anyone see's when coming into town off the highway is a bunch of homeless people?  Great way to try to attract people to downtown. 

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It's embarrassing that the city lets them camp out on 3rd st.  The first thing anyone see's when coming into town off the highway is a bunch of fucking homeless people?  Great way to try to attract people to downtown. 

 

Well they started to remove the concrete benches and an advocacy group flipped out and created a nightmare and the city backed away from the homeless. Honestly the stretch where they put the smaller metal benches looks alot better than the area of long concrete benches they use to camp out around and on.

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Well there are homeless people in tents ALL OVER Los Angeles, and that place has no trouble attracting new business and residents.  But I agree that it's a problem, and seemingly a bigger one in that area than when the original Ft. Washington Way was there. 

 

The saddest moment was around 2007 when guys were living in tents in the pit where The Banks is now, approximately beneath the Orange Leaf. 

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'Nobody is evicted:' Cincinnati scrubs tent city beneath I-71 overpass near Third Street

 

Workers removed torn sheets of cardboard, tarps, bottles filled with urine and other trash under the Interstate 71 overpass near Third Street Friday morning.

 

The dozens of homeless people living under that overpass in tents and makeshift shelters are expected to return.

 

Friday’s cleanup was supervised by the Cincinnati Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. City workers used a Bobcat, pressure washer and a city garbage truck to remove trash that the homeless were told three days ago to leave behind.

 

Police Capt. Michael Neville said residents of the downtown camp will likely return this evening.

 

Cont

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Nothing unique to Cincinnati.  The problem is crazy bad here on the west coast.  LA has tent cities on every bridge overpass for 5 miles or so on most highways out of downtown.  Seattle, Portland, SF, and even here in Salem we deal with the growing problem every day.

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Nothing unique to Cincinnati.  The problem is crazy bad here on the west coast.  LA has tent cities on every bridge overpass for 5 miles or so on most highways out of downtown.  Seattle, Portland, SF, and even here in Salem we deal with the growing problem every day.

 

Denver's homeless problem is IMMENSE.

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You can't just stop people from existing; they have to live somewhere. Homeless people want to live in a dense, urban area the same reason we do: a concentration of amenities, opportunities, and community.

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Well there are homeless people in tents ALL OVER Los Angeles, and that place has no trouble attracting new business and residents.

 

I think a lot of "grass is greener" types see homeless camps in cities like Cincinnati or Detroit and it confirms their bias that "of course these places have lots of homeless people, these cities are poor and terrible; I can't wait to get away to a 'rich city' that isn't so broke" and don't stop to think that it's an even bigger problem in more successful coastal cities, especially the west coast where the climate makes living on the street moderately more tolerable, coupled with side effects of the housing crisis out there.

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You can't just stop people from existing; they have to live somewhere. Homeless people want to live in a dense, urban area the same reason we do: a concentration of amenities, opportunities, and community.

 

As well as access to a denser number of rubes as well as things to steal.

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You can't just stop people from existing; they have to live somewhere. Homeless people want to live in a dense, urban area the same reason we do: a concentration of amenities, opportunities, and community.

 

As well as access to a denser number of rubes as well as things to steal.

 

You're painting with too broad a brush, but for some people these may be considered amenities.

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This week's report:

 

I encounter a lot of homeless people. They all are from here. Now and then, someone comes to Cincinnati for the VA then stays. That's about it. They stay on the streets because they are drunk or addicted and can't be placed for housing because of it. Or, they are insane and wander about like zombies. Most of the homeless do not panhandle. The panhandlers are mostly not homeless and do not live in OTR. They come down to panhandle, get free food and clothes and steal stuff. This week there are about 10 homeless people camping at Salem United Church and Golden Gate. 100 yards from my front door. I see them all the time. No one has asked me or anyone I've seen for anything. Money, water, food, nothing.

 

 

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'Nobody is evicted:' Cincinnati scrubs tent city beneath I-71 overpass near Third Street

 

Workers removed torn sheets of cardboard, tarps, bottles filled with urine and other trash under the Interstate 71 overpass near Third Street Friday morning.

 

The dozens of homeless people living under that overpass in tents and makeshift shelters are expected to return.

 

Friday’s cleanup was supervised by the Cincinnati Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. City workers used a Bobcat, pressure washer and a city garbage truck to remove trash that the homeless were told three days ago to leave behind.

 

Police Capt. Michael Neville said residents of the downtown camp will likely return this evening.

 

Cont

 

While Cincinnati continues to enable the drug and alcohol abuse taking place in this growing tent city, places like San Fransisco have started taking a better approach - Cincinnati could learn something from this:

 

San Francisco mayor taking hard line approach to city's homeless

 

http://www.ktvu.com/news/san-francisco-mayor-taking-hard-line-approach-to-citys-homeless

 

There have been sweeps before but campers returned days later or simply moved a few blocks away. 

The mayor says this time will be different.  This week, city crisis teams will be reaching out to homeless people in this neighborhood trying to get them into a shelter program.

 

Those who refuse help -- will have their tents cleared out this week. 

 

The mayor told the San Francisco Chronicle that the city has gone from being compassionate toward homeless people to enabling them.

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The 3rd Street Tent City is now costing downtown jobs and businesses. It's really exploded over the past month or two - it now occupies the entirety of the Plum Street underpass and several blocks of 3rd Street east from there:

 

Downtown residents, businesses concerned about homeless camp

 

https://local12.com/news/local/downtown-residents-businesses-concerned-about-homeless-camp

 

According to a study for Downtown Cincinnati, Inc., two potential tenants for a nearby office tower said they were either not interested or did not return calls because of the homeless camp.

 

Other business which are thinking of expanding down there are now also looking at Northern Kentucky. That’s about 500-700 jobs.

 

Downtown's negative? The camp.

 

 

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I know every city differs but when I was in Columbus I noticed very few homeless downtown... but in cincy you have whole tent cities and streets filled with them. Where the heck are they all coming from?

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That’s a possibility. Most of the pan handlers I’ve encountered are fine folks, and don’t bother you...but some of them truly take things to far. I’ve seen them stalk pedestrians and yell for money.

 

You see the cop sirens in that area a lot as well for whatever’s reason to. I see them a lot when I go down to the banks at night.

 

It’s a tricky situation for sure, and I have sympathy for those that are effected, but that said it’s a very visible part of our downtown and creates a horrible look for our city. It makes it seem like cincy is a 3rd world country of sorts, and I’m sure this effects some people in wanting to visit or even live downtown.

 

They need to be relocated in my opinion.

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I'm not saying this as an excuse, but it's interesting that businesses are willing to overlook the rampant homelessness in places like San Francisco, but cite it as a reason to not even look at a downtown office in Cincinnati. I'd guess that it's easier to look the other way when you have the ridiculous economic resources of the Bay Area to power your business.

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I'm not saying this as an excuse, but it's interesting that businesses are willing to overlook the rampant homelessness in places like San Francisco, but cite it as a reason to not even look at a downtown office in Cincinnati. I'd guess that it's easier to look the other way when you have the ridiculous economic resources of the Bay Area to power your business.

 

Hell, the whole western US.

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Idk if I mentioned it before but the last few times I’ve been to fountain square I’ve been aggressively panhandled. One of the times I was with my aunt and the other two with my fiancé.

 

I’m certain as some say it isn’t the biggest deal and for me personally I don’t mind too much. But when I was with my aunt the person called us “f*****g b*****s” and the other two times they came up to my fiancé and I taking pictures at the Fountain with an elaborate story and they just wanted us to walk with them to the ATM to pull a few dollars out and blah blah blah after I shut them down three times before.

 

In my opinion that is getting out of line. The city has put too much money and resources into downtown to have these aggressive panhandlers running up to you for cash when you are trying to enjoy the fountain. Personally, when that is going on I wouldn’t feel 100% safe with my fiancé down there alone by herself and I am certain a lot of people feel that way especially woman. They need to get it figured out.

 

It may be different if there are tons of people around but there isn’t all the time in Fountain Square. I think maybe that’s why it makes a difference in San Fran because there are hordes of other people around.

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In most larger cities for better or worse, the panhandling population is constantly ignored as they just become part of the background.

 

In Cincinnati and similarly sized cities, panhandlers often times are more empowered by sympathetic suburbanites who end up giving them cash because they don't know any better. This happens in larger cities but to a smaller success rate so they are not as encouraged.

 

At any rate, it's better to give to a social service agency than to give to a panhandler. But most suburbanites don't know this, and they get taken advantage of more often.

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I work over by Plum and Third and its a real big issue at the moment. We have all been notified of two sex offenders now living in the tunnel. I have numerous female co-workers freaked out about walking to there cars by themselves now or even staying at work late. The tunnel situation has also gotten out of hand, there is couches, mattresses, a propane grill, lawn chairs. On top of all the tents they have everywhere in there. The stench of urine in the surrounding area is so bad it makes you want to gag. They defecate in between vehicles which is a whole other fun issue to walk to your vehicle in the evening. I know the police/fire department have been called almost twice a week for the past couple months because of overdosing in the tunnel as well.

Id like to see Josh Spring actually do something worth while and move these folks or convince them to move into shelters and programs. He is always there to create headaches for everyone else, but i have yet to see him solve existing problems...

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Are we SF of the mid west in terms of homeless population versus our current city size? For instance I know Chicago probably have more homeless but they are also a larger city. For the size of Cincy and the amount of homeless I’ve seen and the amount of camps it makes you think we have probably the higher homeless ratio for a city of our size.

 

Again, it’s weird. Cost of living in cincy is one of the lowest in the us, our unemployment rate has been pretty low as well...Again, the heroin drug trade has been prevelant here but it’s affected many other cities as well. I’m just curious why cincy is becoming a homeless hub, the sf of the Midwest.

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It's crazy how many abandoned housing units there are in the city, but people need to set up camp in the streets.

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The problem is that they allow them to setup these camps.  SF finally got smart and has started cracking down on them.  They have started forcing their homeless to go to shelters where they can get help, and if they don't agree then they're forced out of their "home"

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Honestly, and this might trigger some people (and thinking about the state of otr even 10 years ago),  but I’d argue that south of liberty is now safer than portions of the cbd at night...and that blows my mind.

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Honestly, and this might trigger some people (and thinking about the state of otr even 10 years ago),  but I’d argue that south of liberty is now safer than portions of the cbd at night...and that blows my mind.

 

No I would say this is an accurate observation right now. Couple of times had to do a second look over my shoulder because there are aggressive homeless that work in groups now at night.

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Honestly, and this might trigger some people (and thinking about the state of otr even 10 years ago),  but I’d argue that south of liberty is now safer than portions of the cbd at night...and that blows my mind.

It makes sense.  That area has lots of foot traffic and more people on the street make the area safer.  OTR south of Liberty isn't a very big area whereas the CBD is.  There are parts of the CBD that are just as if not more safe the OTR south of Liberty but there are other areas that are completely dead.  Just a couple weeks ago I was walking home down Vine St and walked past someone clearly od'ing on the sidewalk between Court and 9th.  Their drug addict friend was on a cell probably trying to call 911 to get her resuscitated.  That stretch of Vine from Court to 8th is completely dead with barely any street lights.  And there are plenty of other dead parts of the CBD as well where homeless/addicts hangout and live. 

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Honestly, and this might trigger some people (and thinking about the state of otr even 10 years ago),  but I’d argue that south of liberty is now safer than portions of the cbd at night...and that blows my mind.

It makes sense.  That area has lots of foot traffic and more people on the street make the area safer.  OTR south of Liberty isn't a very big area whereas the CBD is.  There are parts of the CBD that are just as if not more safe the OTR south of Liberty but there are other areas that are completely dead.  Just a couple weeks ago I was walking home down Vine St and walked past someone clearly od'ing on the sidewalk between Court and 9th.  Their drug addict friend was on a cell probably trying to call 911 to get her resuscitated.  That stretch of Vine from Court to 8th is completely dead with barely any street lights.  And there are plenty of other dead parts of the CBD as well where homeless/addicts hangout and live.

 

I’m glad 3cdc will soon begin focusing less on otr and begin focusing more on the cbd. When you walk around otr (especially the revitalized areas) you feel like you are in a different city all together. There are shops on every corner, bars, restaurants, crowds of pedestrians. There is life on the streets.

 

Parts of CBD are a crumbling mess, and it’s sort of shocking that it has gotten to this point. Dead streets, vacant store fronts, literally row of homeless camps. What the hell happened? It’s just extreme night and day between these 2 areas of the city. Extremely stark contrast.

 

Aside from 3cdc, no one else is really investing in the cbd. I don’t get why. This has really hurt the cbd imo. I’m not sure why otr will have a flock of developers, but the cbd is the lonely step child that no one wants to talk to. Even the street car line has done more for revitalizing otr than it has for the cbd.

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I think a few things are looking up in the CBD:

 

1.) The new Kroger Tower

 

2.) The new Kimpton Hotel catty corner from Fountain Square (5th and Walnut)

 

3.) 4th and Race if that ever gets going.

 

I know it won't be enough but those three things, if hopefully #2 and #3 get moving quickly, will really help out those specific areas.

 

The 5th and Walnut area is going to really spruce up the immediate area and help out with hotel attendants outside waiting for customers to arrive. Now it's kind of a grimey area

 

The other one is 4th and Race, adding a bunch of new residents and filling in that massive hole is giong to do a lot.

 

After that the big one they need to figure out is the Macy's site.

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