BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The city of Burlington is giving residents of a homeless encampment another week to stay there before it will closed, said Mayor Miro Weinberger.
The extra time will give social workers more time to help the residents of the Sears Lane encampment find alternative locations to live, the mayor said in a statement issued late Monday afternoon.
“To protect the health and safety of the campers, neighbors, and our first responders we must close this encampment," Weinberger's statement said. “However, we will not stop fighting to bring needed support and resources to members of our community who are housing insecure.”
The encampment had been allowed on city property since last spring after officials acknowledged a lack of housing for the homeless amid the pandemic. For months, neighbors had made various complaints about the encampment including unsanitary conditions and illegal structures.
Last week Weinberger, a Democrat, said the encampment had become “untenable and unacceptable” and he ordered it closed by Tuesday.
Over the weekend, protesters demanded an extension of the timeline for closing the encampment.
The city said many of the residents had been working with the city to find alternative places to live.
The state Department for Children and Families agreed to provide emergency funding to provide direct assistance to Sears Lane residents in their transition to other housing and will work with other organizations to find alternative housing, including hotel assistance.
The city will also provide storage containers where Sears Lane residents will be able to store temporarily their belongings.