Camp Take Notice Banner Exhibition confronted by Police; Supporters don’t give up
Yesterday, supporters of the dismantled tent community Camp Take Notice gathered outside the newly erected $20,000 fence that was built by the Michigan Department of Transportation to keep them out. Around 3:30PM they hung aproximately 18 white bedsheets that had been spraypainted with sentences like: “Friendships Were Discovered Here” , “A Safe Night Sleep Was Available Here”, “A Listening Ear Was Found Here” as well as phrases like “Not Housed” and “Now Homeless”.
During the hour that they were hanging the bedsheets, cars honked frequently, the majority of them appearing to signal support by smiling widely and putting their arms out the window with a raised fist. Three police vehicles showed up to investigate the proceedings but no arrests were made, nor were any tickets issued. It was the intent of the organizers of this event to leave the signs up for two days and then remove them this Saturday.
However, some time early this morning an outspoken detractor of the organized democratic tent community for the homeless had torn down all eighteen signs from the eight foot tall chain-link fence and left them in crumpled piles along Wagner Road.
In order to complete the direct action that the Camp Take Notice Supporters have set out to do, new signs have been made and activists wil again be posting them on Wagner Road today at 3:30. It is expected that they will likely be removed later by the same NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard!) opponent at some point later tonight or perhaps early tomorrow morning. However, if the activists are lucky the signs will be visible during rush hour traffic as the public drives home for the weekend.
Of the previous 68 residents that lived at Camp Take Notice (CTN) only 12 are now housed. Additionally, the Ann Arbor Delonis Shelter is usually full and, while the camp exisited had previously refered the overflow homeless to CTN. Now however, there is no place for the overflow homeless of Washtenaw County to find community or shelter. At the same time government officials were closing down CTN, they were also giving permission for the eviction other homeless encampments; this includes the homeless that lived in Bluff’s Park off of North Main Street and those that live under the bridges near the intersection between Fuller Road and Medical Center Drive. In addition to a Washtenaw County, a pattern of the criminalization of the involuntary status of homelessness (legal term is “criminalization of status”) is emerging all over of the United States.