Morgantown to close Diamond Village homeless camp by end of the month

Monongalia

UPDATE (12/01/20 5:35 p.m.)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The day, Nov. 30, has come and gone and now Diamond Village is officially closed.

Diamond Village on Tuesday

On a snowy Tuesday, all signs of life had been cleared out from the camp. There were no tents or people and all that remained were tire tracks and a few scraps indicating that once roughly 30 people had lived there but then had been recently moved away.

Many former residents have found housing through the help of the city and local nonprofits. However, even in the final week before the camp closed there were still some who hadn’t found or been offered housing.

Two signs posted in the former camp since the final eviction notice was made asks former residents to call 833-722-2014 or 304-282-7852 if they are in need of housing assistance.

One of two posted signs

These signs also let former residents know who to contact to reclaim any property that was left behind and cleared out.

ORIGINAL (11/18/2020 6:34 p.m.)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Residents of Diamond Village, a homeless encampment, have until Nov. 30 to clear out.

That is according to new signs posted in the camp telling residents the following:

Notice of closure sign

On Nov. 30, 2020, the City of Morgantown will conduct a clean-up of this property. No person is permitted to remain on the property beyond this date. All remaining structures and personal property will be removed. All remaining personal property will be stored and can be claimed until Dec. 14, 2020. To claim property, please call 304-291-7465 Monday through Thursday between the hours of 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

If you are in need of housing, please contact 833-722-2014 or 304-282-7852.

City of Morgantown

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were fewer than five people left at the camp. That’s because the city has been offering residents permanent and temporary housing solutions in an effort to clear out the encampment.

One of the few people remaining is Willard Brown, who said he had lived there since the spring. He and others are trying to do their part to clear out the camp, take down structures, and clean up the place.

Brown said he hadn’t been offered housing, and he wants to find some quickly because his girlfriend is eight and a half months pregnant. He asks that the city either give him more time to find somewhere else to live or offer him housing.

Items left behind scattered throughout camp

“We feel like we’ve been left alone because we’ve been exed out from society, and I want to be part of society, you know,” Brown said. “I want housing; I need to take care of my woman; I’ve got to do that. During this COVID thing, it’s kind of hard, so I mean — just give us more time, help us out. We’re not bad people. We need love too.”

Brown said he had been offered a place to stay with friends, but he has declined the offer because he thinks bringing a child and his girlfriend into a home that’s not theirs would be burdensome.

But he said he understands the need to find a solution sooner rather than later because winter is rapidly approaching.

“It’s kind of scary,” Brown said. “I am happy and scared at the same time, but I’m like ‘I don’t want to be down here and have a kid.’

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