Homeless encampment closings, or “sweeps,” have become a regular occurrence in Philadelphia. Every week, members of the police department and other city agencies determine which encampment locations will be closed, and within a specified period of time—usually several days—they show up at these sites and demand that residents come out from their tents, cardboard boxes, or other make-shift residences, gather their belongings, and leave.

These sweeps do nothing to solve the root causes of homelessness. In fact, they often create barriers to housing for encampment residents. When a sweep occurs, belongings are inevitably thrown away, no matter what precautions are taken. There is no getting around this fact.

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