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Latest on plans to ban 2 homeless camps in Gainesville
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A homeless man walks through a homeless camp in the woods in Gainesville Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, back to the tent where he lives. The City of Gainesville has notified the camp residents to be off the City's property by Tuesday. - photo by Scott Rogers

 Gainesville city officials rescinded eviction notices Wednesday for two homeless camps with about 25 residents. 

Code enforcement officials issued the notices Tuesday, Jan. 10, telling residents they had to vacate by early next week. 

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Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvillon - photo by Scott Rogers

But Mayor Sam Couvillon told The Times that was a mistake, and the notices have now been rescinded. 

Couvillon said he was “blindsided” by the news and blamed a code enforcement official. 

The eviction notices actually came out of a meeting last week between city officials and the nonprofit United Way on how to address the issue of homelessness, he said, though he added he was not at the meeting. 

“They had been in a meeting, and (the code enforcement official) just felt like his direction was one thing and he misunderstood that,” Couvillon said. “By all accounts of everybody in the meeting, no one felt like a directive was given to code enforcement to go shut down campsites, but that's what they interpreted and so they felt like they were doing their job.” 

“What happened yesterday was unfortunate,” he said. “Nobody's going to be asked to vacate next week. Our goal is to try to identify people who are in need and try to figure out how we can help them, not try to figure out how we can disturb and make their lives more difficult. … Our intent is to be compassionate for the homeless. Our intent is to try to help work with them so that we can find a solution for them.”