St. Paul's homeless camp quiet after police closed the site Thursday

The site of the homeless camp in St. Paul's Cathedral Hill neighborhood is quiet Thursday night after the city set a deadline of 10 a.m. to clear it.  

The tents are gone and nobody was there Thursday night except some patrol cars.

The city set the deadline for safety reasons and concerns about people living out in the cold and though this morning's deadline was not strictly enforced, the city hopes the people who were living there will take up their offers for other places to stay.

Winter has arrived in St. Paul and with that, police requested that those who'd been living here will find somewhere else to go.

“It's no longer tenable for us to do that here,” said Ricardo Cervantes, the St. Paul Director of Safety and Inspections. “It's no longer safe for them to be here. My worst worry is that someone is going to die, they're going to freeze.”

Around Thursday’s 10 a.m. deadline, only about 15 tents remained, down from 60 at its peak.

With help from volunteers, some had started packing up to clear out.

The city offered transportation for those who need it and alternate shelters where people can stay.

“We don’t have the ability to them everything they need to shelter here and the proximity to the freeway just makes that even more complicated,” said Cervantes.

Other safety concerns include fires and medical calls.

As late as Thursday morning, one person had to be treated after carbon monoxide filled their tent from a propane tank.

“It's our intention and has been our intention to treat these people with respect and dignity, throughout this whole process,” Cervantes added.

Those who came to help include those who've come out of homelessness themselves, including one man who said local homeless shelters aren't an option for everyone.

“Some of these people that you see out here couldn't go in there if they wanted to,” said a man called Big Ben. “But they're not going to tell you about all the people they kicked out for just trying to do what they had to do.”

Others at the camp simply don’t want to leave.

“It takes time for them to make a decision about where they want to go,” Cervantes said. “And having them move from here will prompt them to start making some of those decisions. Hopefully they'll take us up on our offer.”

The winter safe space in St. Paul added more beds this year and city leaders say folks from the camp will be given priority if they choose to go there.