PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A homeless community nestled under the 1-110 overpass near Haynes St. in Pensacola was scheduled to leave in March. City officials had announced it would close the Hollice T. Williams Park for clean up.
However, at the Pensacola City Council meeting Thursday night, officials passed a resolution to allow those in the homeless encampment more time to find a new shelter.
The resolution passed Thursday called for a moratorium on evicting the homeless from the park for at least 90 days, as long as they are not breaking the law. Officials say the scheduled cleanup will continue without breaking up the camp.
Councilwoman Sherri Myers brought the resolution to council, saying no one should be forced into to leave the park without a solution in place first. The city has been working with nonprofits like Opening Doors Northwest Florida to help provide housing solutions for the homeless.
“We want to make sure whatever situation we’re able to help them get into is viable and somewhat permanent,” Myers said Thursday night.
Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson agreed more needed to be done to help. The city has added portable toilets and hand washing stations at the camp.
“We’re absolutely dedicated to getting these folks somewhere they can get shelter,” Robinson said.
However, he noted the park is public property and therefore, it should not be “monopolized” by those living there in tents.
“Those parks need to be available for everyone. Certainly, anybody can come in and use them. But, no one group has the ability to come monopolize that park,” he said. “That’s also something we need to be careful as we work forward.”
A skate park and other recreational amenities are planned for the park in the future.