Person in Tent Bulldozed During Homeless Encampment Closure in Washington

A tent with a person inside was bulldozed during a homeless encampment cleanup in Washington, DC, on October 4.

City crews, with garbage trucks and other equipment, approached the camp in the NoMa neighborhood around 1 pm, according to DCist. During cleanup, a small bulldozer hit an encampment tent and lifted up the person inside.

“Unfortunately, despite outreach staff’s multiple checks, there was an incident during the engagement where a Bobcat temporarily lifted a tent that, unbeknown to us, a resident was still inside,” said Wayne Turnage, the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, according to DCist. “While there were no visible injuries sustained, as a safeguard, the resident received additional medical attention. Due to that incident, we decided to suspend further activity for the day.”

The encampment cleanup was driven by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “Encampment Pilot,” which is described as a plan to relocate homeless people from “unsuitable living situations into viable and affordable housing options.” Housing advocates have criticized the program, with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless rejecting the Bowser administration’s “attempt to frame forced displacement from large visible encampments as new or necessary to the provision of housing.”

These videos show the bulldozer picking up the tent in the encampment and the resulting outcry. Credit: Maydeen Merino for Street Sense Media via Storyful

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