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Temporary fix to help all homeless people living in Milwaukee's Tent City

Posted: 9:25 PM, Oct 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-07 23:26:07-04
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MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County says it has a temporary fix for all the people living in "tent city." The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is evicting everyone living under highway I-794 beneath the Marquette Interchange by October 31, 2019.

"Me and my wife have been staying in a tent. We have been staying here since February," said Alvin Eubanks.

Nearly 90 people have made the encampment their home. Many people like Barry, who did not want to give his last name, have only been living here a few months.

"I walked from Green Bay," said Barry.

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Barry stands near couches left under the interstate in Milwaukee's Tent City

Last year, the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services helped clear out tent city placing 90 people in homes. But administrator James Mathy says they face a different issue this year that may not allow people to qualify for the same housing opportunities.

"One of the challenges of the encampment this year is there are a lot of newly homeless individuals. Homeless systems usually prioritize their resources for folks that are the most vulnerable. That have been homeless the longest," said Mathy.

Mathy says they do have temporary options for the homeless. But when TODAY'S TMJ4 went to tent city Monday, a lot of the people we spoke to struggle with mental health issues and aren't sure they want those services.

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Homeless encampment under the Marquette Interchange

"So our goal is to start with those temporary locations with the goal of assessing everyone by the end of the month for what their housing needs might be and what their mental health needs may be if they need permanent case management," said Mathy.

Barry is not sure what he's going to do when they tell him to leave.

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Barry walks around through the homeless encampment known as Tent City

"I don't know," said Barry.