Encampment update: Encampment near Gallaudet University closed following March clean-up

A tent and some belongings in a forest.

The 9th/ Mt. Olivet St. NE encampment on May 7 before the clearing. Photo by Margaret Hartigan

D.C.’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (DMHHS) closed an encampment at the corner of 9th and Mt. Olivet St. NE on May 7. Two people living at the encampment had already moved out at the time of the closure, relocating to an encampment across the street.

The closure was originally scheduled for April 30 but was postponed for “additional logistics planning,” according to a DMHHS representative. According to DMHHS’s encampments webpage, the agency closed the encampment due to fire hazards.

“They don’t want me to go over there, but I’m gonna go over there,” Charles, who had been living at the encampment, said on April 30 before he moved to a grassy area on the other side of Mt. Olivet St. NE. “I’m gonna be hardheaded.”

One week later, at the time of the actual closure, tents were mostly deconstructed and few belongings remained compared to the previous week. Nobody was still living in the encampment. The DMHHS officials, with two garbage trucks and a bulldozer, cleared out the remaining items beginning at around 10:25 a.m. According to the DMHHS representative, no items were kept for storage.

The encampment had been partly cleared on March 14 when at least two people were living there. During that clearing, which was originally going to be a full closure, two of the three tents were left standing. DMHHS said in an email to Street Sense at the time that the full closure had been rescheduled for April 30 due to there being too much moisture on the ground to effectively conduct it.

The encampment had initially been identified for closure in January 2024 due to “two major fires” and “the presence of constant fire hazards,” the DMHHS representative wrote to Street Sense. Since then, between four and six residents have lived there at various times, the representative wrote. A sign notifying residents of the upcoming clearing had been posted near the encampment on March 26.

DMHHS publishes upcoming engagements at https://dmhhs.dc.gov/page/encampments. Those include: Wed., May 15 at 10 a.m. at 20th/21st and E St/Virginia Ave. NW, Wed., May 15 at 10 a.m. at 25th and Virginia Ave. NW, May 16 at 10 a.m. at 228 7th St SE (Eastern Market), and Mon., May 20 at 10 a.m. at 27th and K St. NW.

Issues |Encampments

Region |Northeast

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