LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — Twenty-one homeless people now have courts dates after receiving tickets from LMPD for sleeping on the sidewalk.
It happened Wednesday night, when police officers wrote citations for people who were sleeping or camping in front of Wayside Christian Mission on Jefferson Street.
On any given day, on any given street you could see men and women sleeping on sidewalks, surrounding the city's homeless shelters.
"We don't have the number of shelter beds in our city for the number of homeless we have in our city," Christen Herron, Founder of Forgotten Louisville, said.
On Wednesday night, city streets hit the low 40s, making it one of the cooler nights so far this fall.
"They pull up and go 'woo woo' and they hit the lights — a couple had they lights on, a couple didn't," one homeless man said, describing the night the tickets were handed out.
He did not want to be identified but said he was scared.
"They came as a show of force — aggressive, telling them you have to get this up, you cannot be camping out. It didn't matter if you was laying out or sitting down," the man said.
LMPD said officers ticketed 21 people for violating the city’s camping ordinance. One of the citations read the offender had been “laying on the side walk, on top of bedding.”
"It infuriates me because they have nowhere to go at the moment," Herron said, "and we don't have a solution."
All shelter beds in Louisville are full. The wait lists are long. Where should the homeless go?
WHAS11 reached out to the mayor. Jean Porter, the mayor's spokesperson, sent us the following statement:
“The situation with homelessness in general, and at Jefferson Street specifically, is complex, and we are reviewing our options, in consultation with our homeless agency partners and other concerned community members.”
"Homelessness is not a crime, but it feels like criminalization of the homeless," Herron said.
Hours after WHAS11 started making phone calls, we were notified that the citations would be put on hold until next week.
LMPD officers were instructed not to write any additional camping citations until after the next task force meeting.
The task force meeting will be on Tuesday, as part of the Mayor's Task Force on Homelessness. Committee members said they are looking for concrete solutions before it gets any colder.