The Everwind Times

Newspaper of the Verges

City pushes for more sweepers to roust squatters, clear the dead

EVERWIND CITY – Despite initial pushback, City Council this week announced plans to increase its staff of sweepers, a response to the city’s growing transient population. Dozens of job openings are expected to become available as soon as the measure is finalized.

A preliminary advertisement seeking applicants has already appeared on job boards throughout the city. The sweepers will be expected to work 12-hour shifts, and will free up local and empirical forces for other security duties. No previous experience required, any able-bodied is free to apply, the ad said.

Assistant City Manager Cal Peringard  wrote in a memo that the measure is primarily intended to inhibit the spread of disease. “A lot of transients carry disease, it’s a simple statement of fact,” Peringard said. “Facts are sometimes unpleasant, but we cannot ignore their existence.” The remarks drew criticism, and citizen response to the entire measure was mixed during a recent discussion at City Hall.

“The task of sweeping abandoned buildings for dead bodies originated with the virus, of course,” said the mayor during an opening statement at the meeting. “Cleanup crews and sweepers have been instrumental in keeping our city in good health, and we urge citizens to report any dead bodies they see so that they may be removed.”

Clearing dead bodies of the homeless and destitute was not the public’s primary concern. The mood of the room went noticeably sour when talk shifted to rousting impoverished squatters from abandoned buildings. By law, if any building remains abandoned for a period of 3 years, ownership transfers to the government.

“It is government property, and they are not paying rent. Squatting is against the law. These are the facts of the matter. There is no free lunch,” Peringard added.

ECCRO, a local civil rights organization, attended the event to protest and speak on behalf of those most impacted by this: the homeless. “The city has more abandoned buildings than the number of transients. These buildings are not being used as it is. The city is already not earning revenue on those properties, and this is just wrong. We cannot treat people this way,” said an ECCRO spokesperson.

The mayor’s response was, “I believe in helping people help themselves. Self-sufficiency is always preferable to reliance on the government. If they really want to improve their circumstances, I encourage them to apply for the sweeper position.”

Citizens who wish to apply for the positions can do so at any guard checkpoint.

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