Ann Arbor homeless worried about expected evictions from park
7:42 PM, Jan 24, 2014
Ann Arbor, MICH (WXYZ) - You can call them the trolls under the bridge and it isn't an insult. The people who live near the Fuller Street bridge in Ann Arbor call their home "Troll Village."
Now Police are trying to take on the trolls.
Two days ago Ann Arbor Police gave people living in tents near the bridge notice that they need to leave. They were told to be gone by noon on Friday.
"This is my home.," said a man named John who lives near the bridge. "I have lived here 7 years. Where would I go?"
John and other Ann Arbor homeless voiced their concerns. They say they have no place to go, and fear moving in these frigid temperatures would not be safe. Some say they are not good at fitting in and have been banned from the local shelters.
On Friday the deadline for their eviction came and went. Ann Arbor Police tell 7 Action News there is no planned time to carry out an eviction at this point. The future remains uncertain for those who live there.
John says sometimes he is asked why he doesn't go to a shelter. Wouldn't that be safer than outside? He says they are crowded. He likes to live on his own.
John knows someone must have complained about him and others living in tents in a park. He knows he has no legal right to live there, but he likes it. It makes him feel like he isn't homeless. Perhaps he made someone uncomfortable. He says moving him somewhere else shouldn't leave anyone more comfortable. He will still be living outside somewhere.
"You can move us. There will still be homeless people. It doesn't solve a problem. I just want to live where I have my freedom."
Should the homeless be allowed to live for free in public places? Is that safe? Is that fair to the rest of the public? Do the homeless need to be forced to move? These are questions with no easy answers that Ann Arbor leaders will no doubt have to continue to address. Resources for the homeless are limited, and sometimes do not provide options the homeless would choose for themselves. The homeless are waiting to see what decisions are made.