Cooper Court, the controversial tent city, appears to be in its final hours.
The homeless encampment on the U-shaped side road named Cooper Court, south of the I-184 Connector, first made news
in early September.
Even though there were beds available at local shelters, including at Interfaith Sanctuary, only a few feet away, Cooper Court continued to grow in size and notoriety. City of Boise officials continued to remind Cooper Court occupants they were violating the law
by blocking delivery and public safety vehicles from using the street. Additionally, officials pointed to the unsanitary and unsafe conditions at the tent city.
Meanwhile, advocates for the homeless men and women living in Cooper Court insisted occupants simply needed another option for shelter and had opted not to stay at Interfaith or the Boise Rescue Mission for a variety of reasons. What's more, some volunteers continued to distribute tents, sleeping bags and bedding to Cooper Court occupants, much to the city's dismay.
Late this afternoon, city officials appeared to be making their move to clear out Cooper Court. Although there has been no official word from City Hall, a large white tent, secured through Tates Rents, was erected at the foot of Cooper Court near River Street and the Boise Police Department closed off a stretch of River Street between Americana Boulevard and 15th Street. Two large Dumpsters have also been rolled up to the site. Employees of Tates Rents said they had a "blank contract" for the tent to be in place until Saturday, Dec. 5.
"There are a lot of rumors right now about Boise clearing out Cooper Court," said Jodi Peterson, program and fundraising advocate at Interfaith Sanctuary, who has been serving as a informal spokesperson for Cooper Court residents.
Peterson said she noticed the tent going up this afternoon as she was assisting one of the Cooper Court occupants with job training.
"If the police come and disrupt the lives of Cooper Court residents, people may be at risk and may even lose their stuff," she said.
Laura McRoberts, who is an advocate for the homeless advocate with IdaHomeless.org
, said, "Everybody's terrified that the police are going to sweep the area."
Lisa Veaudry, education director at the nearby Corpus Christi day shelter said, "It's been chaos down here. And why is everything so damn secretive?"
Meanwhile, officials at Boise City Hall are remaining tight-lipped.