Several people remain in 'Tent City' as deadline to leave approaches

NOW: Several people remain in ’Tent City’ as deadline to leave approaches

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The deadline is quickly approaching before those living in the homeless encampment under I-94 in downtown Milwaukee, known as "Tent City," will be evicted by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). 

Many have left but there are still several people living in tent city, and the deadline is Thursday, Oct. 31. 

The WisDOT is evicting them so they can begin construction on a green space project. 

"Everybody is concerned about them of course,” Milwaukee Rescue Mission President Pat Vanderburgh said. “I mean they are out. They are living in tents and everybody’s desire is to get them a better place.”

Social service organizations across the city, like the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, are trying to relocate them, but Vanderburgh says there are challenges convincing them to leave their tents for a warm bed. 

"I’ve been doing this for 33 years, and there has always been a group of individuals that for various reasons they don’t want to be in a shelter,” Vanderburgh said. “Many of them are struggling with really significant chemical addiction. Many of them are struggling with chronic mental illness.”

The housing administrator for Milwaukee County, James Mathy, said last week that they have found some type of housing for 50 people who used to called tent city home and there are less than 40 people left. 

For people like Vanderburgh, he hopes some living in "Tent City" take him up on his offer to provide them with food, a bed, and even counseling. 

“Our aspiration is transformational,” Vanderburgh said. “We’d love to see people put broken lives back together.”

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