Mayor shuts down Tent City

Update 10:35 P.M. 1/19/2016

Without warning, dozens of public works employees raided Tent City.

"They just coming in and taking all their personal stuff. People's life is in that box that they're throwing in that garbage can. Might mean nothing to nobody else, but it does to them," said Tim Walker. 

Walker lived in Tent City for years but was recently able to get an apartment through Covenant House. Tuesday, about 30 homeless were camped out on a strip of land which legally belongs to Waste Management.

"Who knows what might be in there, your baby pictures, pictures of your family. Believe it or not, people do have stuff like this here, this is there home," Walker explained.

But Mayor Jones said single digit temperatures expected this week prompted him to take action to protect the homeless of Charleston.

"There's nobody in the city of Charleston that has to go without a bed or without a meal," Mayor Danny Jones said in a press conference.

But homeless will not be allowed back in Tent City when temperatures warm up.

"The individuals in Tent City have been informed that it is private property and that they are not allowed to return to the property because it's owned by Waste Management," said Amanda Marks- Cunningham a Public Affairs representatives from Waste Management West Virginia. 

Waste Management had asked the city for assistance many times to remove Tent City from their property. But the homeless living there were never told to move, leaving them to believe there was an unspoken agreement allowing them to stay. 

"I just put it off. I put it off for the reason I stated- that at least we knew where they were. Now you've got 10-20-30 people that are going to be disbursed out there," Mayor Jones explained.

The YMCA's Sojourner's Women and Roark-Sullivan Men's Shelter agreed to take in anyone from Tent City. Though some homeless from Tent City tell 13 News they do not feel comfortable staying in a shelter.



Monday afternoon the mayor of Charleston shut down Tent City citing the cold temperatures and recent open fires people have started to keep warm. Waste Management does own the property that the homeless of Charleston have been living on for years.

Now the company said they are concerned about the safety of the homeless and add the open fires are a liability for their company.

Those living in Tent City were given no warning and much of their belongings were thrown out today.

We will update this story as more information becomes available. 

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