Video by D.j. Weltch
Story Edited by Ford Fischer

“This is your final notice,” police told a homeless encampment in Philadelphia, promising to force people living on public property to leave as of 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. A coalition of antifa and public housing activists barricaded the camp, preparing to defend it from police.

The city was met with hundreds of activists who set up barricades and hosted a press conference to describe the community to national reporters.

“This is not just a homeless encampment. This is a protest for housing,” said activist Jamaal Henderson. “This is the most disadvantaged and marginalized people in this city calling for this city to provide permanent, affordable, safe and accessible housing for all of its residents.”

“There’s veterans that fought in wars for us, and they’re out here,” said one resident of the homeless camp police said they’d evict. “What about them?”

“Just over 9% of all adults experiencing homelessness in the United States are Veterans of the U.S. military. That means that on any given day, an estimated 40,056 Veterans experience homelessness in America,” says a to this 2018 report by the Trump administration.

“What about the pregnant women? People in hiding? What about all of us? We want to be seen too,” the resident added. “This is our home.”

The city responded by sending clergymen to negotiate with the camp. The clergy were rejected because of their lack of presence throughout the duration of the process.

Ultimately, police backed down.

Activists danced in celebration when it became apparent that they had won. Many say they will remain on the scene taking shifts in order to prevent a possible future and unannounced eviction attempt.

Leaders in Philadelphia have said they’re not ready to discuss if force will be used to evict people at the three homeless camps in the city after many tents remained at the site past the 9 a.m. deadline to vacate.

“We’re getting together and discussing what various options we have, but I’m not going to tell you exactly what we’re doing today,” Mayor Kenney said.

Ahead of Wednesday’s confrontation between police and activists outside a homeless encampment in Philadelphia, News2Share contributor D.j. Weltch toured the area and spoke to activists and residents.

One volunteer explained that – without help from the city government – participants are able to provide residents with food, water, clothes, laundry service, and medical aid.

The city government says they still intend to dismantle the camp.