Public Forum on the Monroe Park Closure and situation of groups providing services to the homeless
Wednesday, February 11th, from 5:30-7:30pm, at the Altria Theater (formerly the Landmark, 6 North Laurel Street, Richmond VA), the City of Richmond is holding a forum. The focus of the forum is what is going to happen in regards to service provision (food and clothes distribution, etc) which usually happens in Monroe Park after the park is closed for renovations.
Monroe Park is a major gathering place for people who don’t have anywhere else to go during the day, which includes a large contingent of the homeless population- it’s public, has seating, and has bathrooms (though the bathrooms close in the winter, thanks to a campaign from ASWAN and assistance from city council members Agelasto and Newbille, there are currently Port-a-John facilities available). The Monroe Park Conservancy, a private nonprofit which has taken on management of the park in order to do renovations, plans to close the park in its entirety while those improvements happen. A timeline for construction is not yet available, but it will likely take months, during which time the homeless and the organizations that provide services to them will have to find somewhere else to be.
The position of ASWAN, Richmond’s homeless self-advocacy organization, is that a legal homeless camp should be established while the park is closed. This will give people somewhere relatively safe and central to go, and will also make it much easier to provide services.
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