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National Park Service signage vows to clear McPherson Square homeless camp by mid-April

WJLA – Washington D.C. 1/25/2023 Kevin Lewis
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McPherson Square, two blocks northeast of the White House, continues to be a tent city.

"There's a lot of drama that goes on here at nighttime," resident Bernice Norman told 7News.

Norman, an Arkansas native, has lived in the square for around four months. She took us to her tent, one of at least 70 tents that 7News counted Tuesday night.

"It's not a safe place. You're out in the open. You're not in a house or in a facility with doors where you can have a shower with running water and all that," she said.

The National Park Service has previously stated it plans to clear all homeless camps that are on NPS land in D.C. by the end of 2023. Signs indicate the NPS will address McPherson Square by mid-April.

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"I feel, personally, that human beings should have a place to call home," said Dina Kareem, who walks through McPherson Square three times a week on her way to evening classes. The situation, which many people have complained about, does not bother Kareem too much.

"If there is an interaction with a person here, it's been pleasant. 'Have a good day' or 'how are you doing?' I've never had any bad encounters with anyone here," Kareem added.

Dozens of ducks, and no shortage of rats, roam around the square, likely due to the abundance of unsecured food.

"I wouldn't consider myself homeless, I would consider myself stuck," said Norman, who wonders where her dozens of tent neighbors will go should the NPS keep to its word.

"Some of them have friends, some of them have families, some of them don't. Some of them might go to a shelter. Some of them might go to a hospital. Some of them might go to jail."

7News contacted the office of DC Councilwoman Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) seeking comment. Pinto's ward covers Downtown D.C. A staffer told 7News the councilwoman was unavailable due to several evening meetings.

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