New Castle News

February 9, 2013

Tent City residents move

David Burcham
CNHI

NEW CASTLE — Former Tent City residents relocated to a new site Friday afternoon. But their stay may be short.

Patches Place director Sandi Hause said the agency has been working with the residents, who were under orders to vacate their former site, which is property owned by Ellwood Quality Steel.

She said a city resident volunteered property along Neshannock Creek and a port-a-potty was donated. She noted she is working with the Veterans Administration to find larger, waterproof tents for the handful of remaining residents to call home.

Donations of firewood, food and other essential elements are coming in, she added.

“But someone apparently saw activity and feared that people were dumping trash,” she said of the new location. “Word went out on the scanner and already people are coming down and harassing them.”

Since the homeless were ordered off the initial site because of liability concerns, Hause said, she has worked to find more permanent homes for some and is making other arrangements for the rest.

“Some have been living like this for three years or more,” she said. “It’s hard to get them into conventional housing.”

Hause added many have no income to pay rent or utility costs, even if housing is found.

She said churches and organizations are donating much-needed supplies. She invited volunteers to go to Patches Place at 217 N. Mill St. to assist the people with learning job skills, including how to operate a computer.

“We are continuing to look for a place they will not be harassed, where they will be safe.”