Norristown’s leadership advocating for all of Montco’s municipalities to help with homeless

The Philadelphia Inquirer published an article on May 28th titled “Fearing a ‘sweep,’ people living homeless in Norristown wait to be cast out of encampments” that detailed the issue of homelessness in Norristown and a plan to remove those camping on land owned by PECO and the Municipality of Norristown itself.

While the numbers are debated, Thomas Lepera (D), the president of Norristown’s Council, believes that Norristown is disproportionately impacted by what is a county-wide problem. According to the article, there are 20 homeless camping sites in Norristown.

As the county seat, Montgomery County’s social service programs are based in Norristown and it is believed that many homeless find their way to Norristown to be in close proximity to these services. Lepara is advocating for the county’s other municipalities to help house the homeless. From the article:

Lepera said the only fair solution is for each of the more than five dozen towns and cities in Montgomery County to house its share of the estimated 450 people living homeless in the county.

PECO has announced a plan to sweep property it owns along the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown in what it told the Inquirer is an effort to clean up “hazardous waste and trash.” Those living on the property will need to move.

When PECO does its sweep, Norristown plans to do the same for municipal-owned land. In 2022, Norristown’s council adopted an ordinance that makes it illegal to be in its parks between sunset and sunrise.

There is a lot more to this story. Find the full article here.

Most importantly, there doesn’t seem to be a plan for what will happen to those impacted by the sweeps. Will they keep setting up elsewhere in Norristown until that area is swept or will the homeless move to a new municipality or municipalities that are more welcoming?

Our question is do you agree with Lepera? Let us know in the comments.