ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Homeless people living in camps along the Platte River in Englewood were forced to move out Tuesday morning. The area is now declared a nuisance under the city's municipal code.
The area is home to around 48 to 50 camps.
“It’s nice down here," a woman named Jennifer said as she packed her belongings. “Water-front property.”
Jennifer said she was not mad about the decision.
"I’m more, like, sad that we have to do this because it’s a pain in the butt," she said.
The camps were identified as a flood control and mitigation area. That means everyone has to pack up and leave or their stuff will be thrown out. They did not have to pack up alone; complete strangers came in to offer help.
“Some of these people have lost their entire lives in a matter of minutes, hours, days. Try to sympathize with these people, try to get on their level," said Nicholas Olsen, who came in to help.
On the other side of the riverbank stood Jerry Walker, chairman of the Code Enforcement Advisory Committee.
“The last time we did it, we had to have a hazmat team come down because of all the needles and problems. And the other problem is the sanitation," Walker said.
Walker said it's time for the area to be cleaned up, citing crime concerns, cleanliness and drugs.
“None of us are like, 'Oh my God, I want to be homeless.' Like, it sucks," Jennifer said. "We’re doing what we can, and then to basically tell us we’re going to go to jail for it."
Every person FOX31 and Channel 2 interviewed had nothing but positive things to say about the police who helped them prepare to move. We're told officers brought water and socks from time to time.
After the camp is completely removed, a group will come in and begin to fix all the damage to the area.
Englewood police will wait until later this week to begin arresting anyone who stays. Sgt. Reid McGrath says they're hoping that won't happen.
"There will be a hard deadline at some point when the cleanup crew catches up and they have to be out. But at this point, we don't have an absolute hard deadline for them," he said. "If we can't get them moving, we may have to take that type of enforcement action. We're hoping we don't."