Within hours of city crews arriving with a truck that scooped claw-fulls of items into a dumpster bed, hundreds of remaining tents had dwindled to just over a dozen in a makeshift homeless camp in Downtown Jacksonville.
The city of Jacksonville wasted no time Tuesday morning as a deadline arrived for people to move out of the camp, which has been referred to as “tent city.”
The doors closed at 10 p.m. Tuesday and only people who work a night shift were permitted to enter. As of 11 p.m., a volunteer said, there were about 45 people inside the shelter.
The homeless camp grew from 10 people to about 200 in the last three months, and last month, 46 people from the camp were placed in extended-living hotels, but the number of people in the camp kept growing with more people needing help.
Around 8 a.m. Tuesday, crews using a grapple truck were seen scooping items collected in piles on the property at Union and Jefferson streets, which has been surrounded by fencing. Crews also installed the last piece of the gate designed to keep people out.
Daryus Sando, who called the tent city home for two months, said seeing the city crews made the deadline suddenly very real.
“When you actually see things going down, versus hearing about it, it’s always that, ‘OK, I’ve got to do it, I’ve got to move now, I’ve got to find somewhere to go now. It’s the real deal,’” Sando said.
Hundreds of tents could still be seen on the property early in the morning as officers could be seen making the rounds at the property throughout the morning, letting people know they would need to vacate.