CLEANUP BEGINS AT HOMELESS ENCAMPMENTS IN WESTCHESTER PARK

Crews are bagging up trash. Tent frames are being collapsed.

Friday marked the cleanup day at Westchester Park. It’s something many who live near the park have wanted for some time.


They’ve complained of the unhoused hijacking the park keeping their kids from being able to play and local grownups from enjoying themselves on the grounds.

Lucy Han is President of the neighborhood group "Friends of the Jungle."


She says, "I watched them clean up trash; putting trash away in their dumpsters."

Now that the cleaning they’ve wanted for months is finally happening – part of the cleaning happening this week other parts happening next week – she says, "I was excited. I mean, of course, that’s a great thing."

Other local residents, like Traci Park, says "Action was required a long time ago. I’m glad that it’s happening now, but it’s too little too late."

Then, there are the unhoused like Saige Summers.

She says, "I feel for the people who are seeing this," referring to the homeless encampment.

She’s not dismissing neighborhood concerns.

She says, "I understand they want to go back to the park. I understand they want to go back to the library. I understand they want to use the basketball and tennis courts again. I totally understand that."

Summers, whose tent was one of the first removed says she’s created a YouTube channel to try and lift herself out of homelessness and give her purpose.

It’s called "Saige Summers: 7 Paths to Peace." While she’s not happy about the park cleanup, she’s philosophical saying, "I hear their voice. Their voice needs to be at the table as well as a homeless person’s voice as well as the politicians … open ears."

Summers doesn’t know where she’ll pitch her tent next. The park cleanup is scheduled to resume next Friday.

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