FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) – Activists and the homeless pitched tents this weekend right on the front lawn of Frederick’s City hall. They say by camping there, local officials can’t ignore the problem.
Kristen Lundy with Frederick United said recent construction projects, have driven many homeless people out of their “tent cities” with nowhere to go. That’s when she decided to organize participants to camp out on the lawn,
“We want them to have a sanitary place to go where they can get showers, where they can eat, and get actual care,” she said.
On Sunday, Mayor Michael O’Connor and other officials interacted with the group, trying to find a solution.
“We’re hearing what you’re saying and we’re trying to provide a response,” O’Connor told the group. “… If these were easy problems to solve, there would be communities that have solved them. And I will tell you, no community has solved this problem.”
The group compiled a list of demands to improve the quality of life for the homeless.
The list included the creation of a designated campground, plans for rapid rehousing, and the treatment, not criminalization, of homelessness.
“We also demand that our city officials recognize the homeless community as their constituents,” Co-Founder of Global Necessity Talia Ramey said. “Your community is watching, and elections are coming up.”
Richard Thomas Sherry Jr. says he’s been homeless “on and off” for about 18 years and set up camp at city hall. He said he was kicked out of his previous camp located in a field downtown.
“[Housing] is only a human right to some people, but it’s not a human right to other people,” he said. “Because they consider the other people not human.”
Lundy said with pandemic restrictions loosening, local shelter capacity in the area will increase, but she has no issue camping at City Hall again if nothing is done in the long term.