UPTOWN — Most of the signs instructing the homeless to vacate an Uptown viaduct had been torn down Monday — but not out of anger toward the city.
They were removed because the homeless living underneath the viaduct at Lawrence Avenue and Marine Drive Avenue like to keep their space clean.
"It's fairly clean," said Debra Shaw, who lives in a tent underneath the viaducts. "We try to do that to alleviate residents' concerns."
"I don't think any of us are negatively trying to impact residents," she added.
Mina Bloom says officials are trying to get area homeless into shelters:
At the end of last week, city officials put up signs that read: "Off the street cleaning notice: Friday, 4-24-15, Lawrence and Marine Dr. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m." At a recent CAPS meeting, some residents said said the city should remove the homeless people living underneath the Uptown viaducts.
A newcomer to the viaduct, Kenny, who declined to provide his last name, said there are just as many people "who say 'I don't want this'" as there are people who "come to help" by dropping off food and blankets, among other items.
Shaw, who called herself an "anomaly," agreed, saying "generally speaking, everyone is nice and respectful."
"I have nothing negative to say about [the department] of streets and sanitation," among other city agencies, she added. "They were very caring and supportive."
She even sympathized with other neighborhood residents, saying "I fully understand why residents don't want to see this."
When the city puts up signs, which happens roughly every month or so, those living underneath the viaducts pile up their belongings and bring them somewhere else during the time listed on the sign, Shaw and others explained. Once the city is done cleaning, they usually return to the same viaduct without a problem.
"You have to wait until it's late enough to return," Shaw said. "If it's really nice out, I may put my stuff on the hill."
For Kenny, who has only lived under the viaducts for a month, it will be the first time he'll experience the city cleanup. But he didn't seem worried, saying it is a community where they "all look out for each other."
"We have respect for police," he said.
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