A man was taken to the hospital after he was stabbed several times during a fight at a homeless encampment on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia on Sunday, according to police.
Police said the fight occurred at 5:14 p.m. on 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. A 26-year-old man was stabbed multiple times. He was taken to Jefferson University Hospital. Officials have not yet revealed his condition.
No arrests have been made and police have not released a description of any suspects.
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A few hours later, a 22-year-old man was stabbed once in the neck and once in the side about three blocks away on 25th Street and Kelly Drive. Police said the victim is in stable condition at Jefferson Hospital. An unidentified suspect is in custody in connection to the stabbing. Police have not yet revealed whether the two incidents are related.
When NBC10 visited on June 16, the areas behind the sidewalks near Von Colln Field were filled in with tents. Organizers also set up medical care and outdoor showers, according to a homeless outreach worker.
The Von Colln sign was replaced with a duct-taped piece of cardboard that read "NO COP ZONE." The 9th Police District headquarters is steps away from the encampment.
The encampment group is advocating for permanent low-income housing, the city's blessing of their right to be at that location and for two other "no police zones" to be set up for tent cities. The group wants to end "homeless sweeps" that it says "hides the fact that no housing is being offered and people are being displaced."
Homeless outreach workers with Project HOME told NBC10 they could get those people off the streets now - but have been turned away. Mayor Jim Kenney said something similar at a city press conference earlier this month.
"Our folks have been shunned away or scooted away by the organizers of the event, of the protest," Kenney said. "While we recognize that it is a protest, we have beds available, we have services available ... we would like to avail them of those services."
Carol Thomas of Project HOME said the activists' goal is clear: "People do need permanent housing," and that's not something the city has a ton of right now.
"To address homelessness long term, housing is the key," Thomas added.
The city has a total of 11,500 emergency, temporary and permanent beds. The city's homeless population is about 5,700, including 950 who are unsheltered. The city offered hotel rooms to some people at the encampment, NBC10 learned.
“It’s their time, it’s their time to have a place to call home,” one person at the encampment said. “These lives do matter, some of these people have been out here for years."
If you are experiencing homelessness or know someone who is, the Homeless Outreach Hotline is 215-232-1984.