AUSTIN, Texas - The cleanup in front of the ARCH came as no surprise. Those camping out got a warning three weeks ago. Despite that, when moving day arrived Monday, it hit like a storm.
"The cops had already moved my tent into the street, with a few belongings in it, so I got my belongings out and I took my tent down,” said Susan Peake.
FOX7 first met Susan Peake last month when city officials said the clean-up would happen. She took advantage of an outreach effort and was able to get a temporary bed, but it’s not much.
"My bed is in the basement on some concrete in a super cold room of the Salvation Army and I have no idea is any day I will have to leave or not,” said Peake.
Sanitation crews were given a police escort as they move from campsite to campsite. A few campers, like a man known as Everett, defiantly remained on site.
"If you want to put me in jail, put me in jail I don’t give a $#@^, but I'm not going nowhere,” said Everett.
APD did not report any arrests. Many, according to Greg McCormack, director at the ARCH, had already moved out.
"We've engaged with about, almost 100 individuals and we've done our surveys trying to engage, and we've got 70 of those already working with a case manager, for their next steps, the individuals here, the majority are individuals, who did not want to work with us, and we've just let them know we are here we are a resource, but at this point they need to gather their important belongings and move," said McCormack.
Among those who signed up for services and left was Kendall Cook.
"Well because they made a lot of threats, and as you can see they are making good on their threats, they are throwing people's stuff in the trash,” said Cook
Cook said he feels trapped and has relocated to the woods.
"I've been waiting for almost nine months, six to nine months, for help from ECHO, and I have not received any time of paperwork, anything," Cook said. "They had social workers come out here on the 28th and said they were going to be back out here, to help us. They took down my name, they took down a few of our names, and they still have not come back out here to help us, where the social workers now."
Once the sanitation crews and police left, people started coming back and with them more uncertainty.
"The response that we need is additional shelter beds, a place where people can go, it’s the question it keeps getting asked, and when I’m talking to someone, they say, I understand I have to move, where do I go? We've got to have a better answer to that,” said McCormack.
The answer to that question right now, according to McCormack, is, “I don’t know.”
Ahmad Ranson offered an answer. He is a homeless street preacher and believes churches, which sit empty at night, should step in and fill the gap
"I understand the city's desire to clean up the city and get rid of anything that is fitly but the first objective should be the people,” said Ranson.
Unanswered questions remain about what will happen to the few stragglers that have stayed behind as well as those who are coming back and set up camps again.