The new Central Iowa Homeless Shelter in downtown Des Moines is at capacity, and it could be getting even busier. The City of Des Moines is posting notices to clear out the homeless campsites that are located on city owned land. City officials say they are worried about the safety of the homeless population living outside.
“The city of Des Moines spent a lot of time and money on the new homeless shelter. We`re hoping people will take advantage of that. And relocate into a safe structure,” said SueAnn Donovan, the Neighborhood Inspection and Zoning Administrator with the City of Des Moines.
Notices have been passed out to three homeless camps so far, instructing people that they have 10 days to relocate- based off city codes. The city is starting with the places that citizens have complained about, particularly under bridges on the trail systems. People living at the homeless camp under Martin Luther King Junior Parkway now have just seven days to move. The camp is within eyesight of Des Moines' new shelter, and officials say the proximity shows those who live there are mostly there by choice.
“That would probably be the only problem with that. Convincing them that being inside a shelter is better than being outside. But this might convince them that there are no places for them to go, and this is their option,” said Howard Croweagle with Central Iowa Shelter and Services.
The city plans on putting up notices throughout the city. If people struggle with the time limit, the city says they may file an appeal, and get help relocating. If anyone refuses to move- they could be arrested. But the city says that’s a last resort.