In response to multiple deaths, the City of Ithaca plowed an access road through the woods into the homeless encampment known as â??The Jungleâ??. Crews started this more than two weeks ago as a way to allow firefighters and ambulances to access the area more easily.
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick says this was necessary because it is unsafe to have people stranded in that area. Since then, many still come down the railroad tracks throughout the day. Those coming to the Jungle during the day say they have not seen any tents or anyone staying overnight since the access road was constructed.
In addition, many former Jungle occupants laid one of their friends to rest, who passed away earlier this month. They believe this access road, in addition to seeing numerous deaths over the years, has pushed people out of The Jungle and into homeless shelters.
Others who go to The Jungle throughout the day say they will continue to visit the area for fires and drinking. Mayor Myrick says he wants to see if people will continue to stay away, but says he has the ability to arrest and evict anyone on that property.
So far, the mayor has told police not to arrest anyone because he wants them to go on their own into shelters.
Many people we talked with today say they have improved their lives since moving from the Jungle. Some say they have part-time jobs working with the Rescue Mission. Others say they are renting their own apartments.