PORTLAND, Maine - A day before a deadline set by Portland police, most or all of the people living in a longtime homeless encampment on privately-owned land behind a shopping center near Westbrook have moved on.
Police department officials said yesterday that camp residents would have until tomorrow to clear out - and then police would start issuing trespass warnings.
Homeless organizations have been working with residents for some time, trying to bring them into the shelter system, or get them vouchers for reduced-price housing.
Ali Lovejoy is with Preble Street, an organization that provides homeless services; she says success has been mixed. She says some residents aren't allowed at local shelters and others really don't want to be there.
"Could be anything from not wanting to be separated from their partner, from not wanting to - just how intense it is to having to sleep next to someone on a mat on the floor, just inches over," Lovejoy says.
Portland police decided to clear the area after an increase in calls in the area for various problems. A resident of the camp was also stabbed by a fellow camper last week.