Harlingen's 'tent city' residents evicted by police, train company
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 02:02:51 GMT —
It's been seven years that Mariana Rodriguez has been on the streets.
But her life outside of a house hasn't been so bad, she says, since she's been living in a little shack built out of whatever materials would hold.
The empty Harlingen lot is where she cooked, showered and slept, but now, she's no longer welcome here nor are any of the other inhabitants of what's been labeled Tent City.
"They said you all have to get out of here," said Rodriguez.
The City of Harlingen contacted the owners of the property and Union Pacific moved quickly to demolish Tent City.
"There are some serious health concerns. I understand that there are couches, needles and syringes in the area and so we're hoping to just go and clean this area up," said Raquel Espinosa, spokesperson for Union Pacific Railroad.
They mean business. More than a dozen residents including Joel Romero are getting the boot.
"The bulldozers are on their way," said Romero.
Friday morning, they have to be off the property or face arrest. They TMve already been given citations for trespassing.
"That's what I don't understand. Why are they doing it from one day to another," said Rodriguez.
"Everybody's about to be homeless," said Romero.
Romero says they get that they can't live on private property, but they don't understand why they're not being given more time to plan where to go from here.
"We need a little more time. Fifteen days and that's all we need. We need a little more time because if not, you're going to see a lot of suffering in the streets. It's going to be worse," said Romero.
Rodriguez and many others have lived there so long they don TMt have any idea where they will go now.
With only hours to pack up what they can carry and look for another place to set up their tents, the residents are desperate, more than ever, for a helping hand.
"Stop them, but it's not gonna happen," said Romero looking out at the bulldozers with tears in his eyes.
The residents of Tent City have until Friday at 8am to move out or face arrest by Harlingen Police.