Homeless flock to Market Street Park
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Just days after Market Street Park’s nighttime closings were lifted, the homeless have flocked to set up tents and mark their spot to stay indefinitely.
When City Manager Samuel Sanders announced the lift of the closing hours, he said in a statement this is just a temporary fix, and the city is looking into finding a long-term solution.
Ricky Webster was homeless in Charlottesville for seven years. Though he now has a place of his own, he says that he is glad to hear the park is open for people to stay, but that the city needs to do more to help those struggling.
”For seven years, most of the time, they give us the same thing over and over. Give us the stuff we really need, like sleeping bags, backpacks, boots, hand warmers, toe warmers, long johns, they don't give us that stuff, for the seven years I have been here they don’t give us that stuff,” Webster said.
Other community members are worried that, with the overflow of people using the park as a place to stay, it will lose some of its purpose as a park.
“I guess it’s all right for them to stay there, but I am concerned about public use. Do the tents go down in the daytime? What is the deal?” Charlottesville resident Stephen Wilson said.
The Charlottesville City Council is scheduled to meet on Oct. 2, but for now, the park remains open 24 hours a day for people to visit, or even stay overnight.