PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials and representatives of a homeless encampment on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway have reached an agreement to end the encampment, city officials announced Tuesday night. The agreement comes after months of back and forth and even a court battle.
Officials say the city, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and leaders of the camp, known as James Talib Dean (JTD) Camp, have reached an amicable resolution.
Under the agreement, encampment residents will voluntarily vacate the site by the end of the week. The city and PHA will transfer 50 properties in phases to a land trust established by the encampment residents.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement on the agreement.
“As with last week’s resolution of the Ridge Avenue camp, this agreement is the result of a lot of hard work by all of those involved, and I thank everyone for their efforts. This took a long time, but an amicable resolution was always my goal, and I’m pleased that this has been achieved. I also want to thank the camp leaders and residents for elevating Philadelphia’s affordable housing crisis in the public eye. We have an agreement, but the larger issues remain — particularly amid a global pandemic — and we all need to rededicate ourselves to finding bold solutions.
“Thanks as well go to City Council, particularly Council President Darrell Clarke, and Council members Jaimie Gauthier and Kendra Brooks, who devoted countless hours participating in discussions with encampment organizers. I also want to voice sincere appreciation to PHA CEO Kelvin Jeremiah for his personal commitment and dedication in helping resolve both encampments. Finally, I want to sincerely thank the Parkway neighbors for their patience and understanding. Throughout the past four months, many neighbors voiced their concerns to me about the situation, and frequently did so by acknowledging the larger issues that led to the camp. You have my commitment that the area will be fully restored and available for all Philadelphians.”
The agreement comes after several deadlines came and went for the encampment residents to vacate, without any action from the city.
In late August, a federal judge gave the city the green light to dismantle the camp along the Parkway but the two sides have now reached an amicable agreement.