SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — This week, the city will clear out the encampment on President Street, permanently. Mayor Van Johnson says it’s a matter of health and safety.

Lucius Young says he’s lived in the encampment, off and on, for two years, and isn’t ready to leave.

“I come down here; I can turn my music up as high as I want to, don’t have to hear no neighbors, play with the animals,” he said while holding a kitten he found in the area.

However, come Thursday at 1 p.m. Young and the roughly 40 people living there won’t have a choice but to clear out. Signage is already up, letting them know.

An outreach team from the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless is already set up at the encampment, signing up people for services to help them relocate. That includes providing storage units, mental and physical health resources, and space at local shelters.

Johnson said The Salvation Army and the Union Mission have opened up 30 additional triage bed spaces in their emergency shelters. The city and the homeless authority are even making it easy for some to leave the Hostess City.

“Individuals who want to reconnect with their family or friends in other areas, because of this relocation, will be eligible for free Greyhound bus tickets once contact is made,” Johnson said during his weekly media briefing Tuesday.

The move comes after a tire fire in the encampment on Oct. 1 that authorities say was made worse because of clothes and debris. Lucius Young says it’s a poor excuse to kick people out of a place where their pets are buried, where some have called home for more than 20 years.

“You might think they’re homeless, or bums, or however they look at it, how the outside look at it, but these are some smart people,” Young said. “They’re also people.”

After the encampment is cleared, the city plans to fence it off and cut down much of the brush around it, to provide better visibility of the area.