Plans to renovate Monroe Park threaten to displace homeless

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Wednesday, it was announced that plans to renovate Richmond’s Monroe Park would finally be underway after the Monroe Park Conservancy raised $3 million to match the city’s contribution.

While this is great news for the city, it means that homeless people in the area will once again be displaced.

aa1ebee32ba143f6b8d5efb649005e40“I hope to get some help and maybe find a temporary shelter,” said a homeless woman named Beth, who has been in Monroe park for the last eight months after falling on hard times.

She, like so many others, will have to find somewhere else to go, once renovations to the park begin.

Kimberly Lammie is the Director of Development and Communications for Homeward, a nonprofit helping to find places for homeless people throughout the city.

“As of now we don’t have a formalized plan for Monroe Park, but we’re working every day in our community to do outreach with individuals, connecting them to permanent housing, and we’ll continue this work while Monroe Park is being renovated,” she said.

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Richmond’s oldest park is due to close in November to allow $6 million in improvements to take place, starting with underground sewer, gas, and water systems.

While the changes may be inconvenient, Beth says, “I understand why, you know, it’s a valuable piece of property. It’s important to VCU and it does need renovating.”

7668019b63ba4ce0b55eaa2437162e3eLammie says it’s important to know there may be other options available.

“What we do encourage people to do is to call the free regional 2-1-1 hotline. If you’re looking to get connected with homeless services, emergency shelter, permanent housing, supportive services, they’ll refer you to the agency that’s most suited to meet your needs.”

The renovations are expected to last 12 to 18 months.

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