Police remove homeless people from camp near Rt. 490, Mt. Hope Ave

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Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - A group of homeless men and women were removed from a camp Tuesday morning that had been set up along Mount Hope Avenue near Rt. 490.

Rochester Police said they were called to the property behind Charter Communications around 8:30 a.m. after someone from the company called 911 to have people removed from the property.

According to officers, everyone at the camp left except for two people - one of whom was an advocate for homeless people at the camp.

That person, Mercedes Phelan, was arrested by police for refusing to leave the site. Charter dropped the trespassing charges against Phelan, saying they did not want to pursue them.

Geno Brown has been living at the camp for two years after losing his housing during some hard person times. He said he was shocked when police knocked on his tent to get out.

"I just seemed like every time we started to get a little bit of things together going, well, they would come and push and shove and stuff like that," Brown said. "It was kind of shocking.”

Brown said he understands they are on private property, but was hoping they gave them more time or abided by the 30-day agreement to which the two sides had initially agreed.

“I’m not angry or mad or anything or feel like they did something wrong," Brown said. "We knew that this wasn’t our land."

A statement from Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said "the City, the RPD along with several social service partners from our community, have been and will continue to work extensively in an effort to rectify this situation for the betterment of all involved."

Charter Communications issued a statement about the homeless people being removed from their property.

The trespassing enforcement at our Rochester today facility follows a six-month effort to carry out a dignified transition for the people trespassing on our property. We helped the vast majority of the people affected identify alternative housing, and we will continue to work to help the people affected identify an option for safe housing.
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