Thu, 30 Nov 2023

HOUSTON, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- New Orleans, the largest city of the U.S. southern state of Louisiana, is permanently closing the Tchoupitoulas Encampment, one of the city's largest homeless camp, this week, as part of a massive effort to reduce homelessness.

The city has posted "Closure Notice" on electric poles and pillars around the encampment, saying that individuals must remove any and all personal property no later than 7:00 a.m. Friday local time, and any personal property remaining will be removed and stored for retrieval.

After 7:00 a.m. Friday, anyone remaining on the site will be reported for violations of the city code, which prohibits trespassing on immovable property, according to the notice.

A first violation of the code could result in a fine of no more than 500 U.S. dollars, and further violations could result in additional fines and imprisonment, reported local media outlet WDSU, which is the NBC television affiliate in New Orleans.

City officials said outreach teams are deployed and will provide and coordinate services for any individual who needs housing, shelter, or other services.

Once cleared, the encampment will be fenced off and patrolled to prevent further settlements.

City officials have also begun working to find housing for residents of a second tent encampment, which they said is located in the city's "inner core."

"This week's activity at the Tchoupitoulas encampment is the result of many months of planning and thorough, ongoing outreach to the individuals who have taken up residence there," said New Orleans Council member Lesli Harris in a statement.

"This is something we will be working to provide to all unhoused individuals in our community, so the City of New Orleans can achieve low or no homelessness in 2025," said the statement.

The target will mean locating housing for 1,500 people living on the street, in encampments or in shelters during that time frame, local media outlet NOLA reported.

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