Sidewalk-dwellers returned to their East Village homeless encampment Sunday — less than 24 hours after city sanitation workers took it apart and hauled it away.
Several homeless people were back at the make-shift community, which sprung up in recent weeks on the sidewalk on Second Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets, complete with a desk, a large headboard, a mattress and access to a city phone-charging kiosk.
“We had a blissful 12 hours of peace,” area resident Vanessa Valdes said in an email to The Post Sunday. “They are back and rebuilding structures again. I saw five people, including the sex worker interviewed in (a Post) article. What can be done?”
Photos shot by Valdes Sunday show a tarp stretched from the scaffolding to an apparent cot on the ground — sheltering a crooked shelving unit. Two people can be seen snoozing away in the summer heat.
Long the subject of complaints from neighbors, the encampment rose up under scaffolding erected on the site of an apartment building gutted by a thunderous gas explosion in 2015.
Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to clear out similar encampments in the Big Apple and on Saturday a sanitation crew moved in to follow through.
However, locals said the homeless occupants simply went across the street, waited under the marquee of the Orpheum Theater, and returned when the city workers were gone.
“I call them the end of the world people,” said one 50-year-old neighbor, who only identified herself as Ann. “They’re a little different. they’re young. They say they want to live off the grid.”
But their presence was an eyesore for local residents and merchants.
“They clear it out two times. They come back right away,” said Mike Tarabih, 45, a cook at the nearby B&H Restaurant. “It’s too much. The blankets, the beds the furniture. They make apartments on the sidewalk. Customers say, ‘No, I go somewhere else.’”
In a statement Sunday, the city Department Homeless Services said the agency responds to similar situations “as quickly as we can,” but said the encampments represent a challenge to outreach workers.
“Anytime we encounter or learn about a condition on the street that needs to be addressed, we do so as quickly as we can, discussing directly with any unsheltered individuals who may be there at the time the options and resources available to them, and coordinating with partner agencies as needed,” DHS spokesman Isaac McGinn said in an email.
“Engaging those in need isn’t easy or quick work, nor is accepting services for those who’ve lived unsheltered for some time,” McGinn added. “It requires persistence, compassion, and trust, and we will keep coming back.”
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