Homeless encampment on the Parkway draws neighborhood ire

Justin Udo
July 05, 2020 - 1:52 pm

    PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A controversial homeless protest and encampment area in Philadelphia is under fire for its activities and sanitary conditions. Both protesters and neighbors are asking the city to do something.

    If you ride past Von Colln Field at 22nd Street on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, you'll see dozens of tents making up an ever-growing community of homeless protesters.

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    But there have been concerns from neighbors, including Dennis Boylan, president of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, over the conditions at the protest that has been going on for nearly a month. 

    "It's caused a lot of disruption in the neighborhood," he said. "The neighborhood has suffered with trash, we're seeing drug paraphernalia, a variety of things that weren't as pervasive."

    One of those disruptions, according to police, was a stabbing.

    Leonard Flowers, one of the organizers of the mass protest for homeless rights, said these issues are much ado about nothing.

    "We keep it as clean as possible. We all help each other," he said. "The people around here love it, and if they love it, where is the sanitation problem?"

    Related: Protesters for homeless rights in Philadelphia lay out demands to city officials

    Flowers added, "We got like, 10-15 porta-potties out here, showers, we got maintenance."

    Boylan said the neighborhood association has petitioned the city to clear the field, and he's hoping officials will be able to humanely help all of the protesters find affordable housing, which has been one of the main aims of the protest.