The effects of homelessness in our area
A group has been living in a camp behind a Wilmington warehouse for about two months. Nigel Hanna said she ended up there after losing her job, and then her house.
Similar camps are found throughout the area, leaving code enforcement and the police to take action. “They’ll get set up, we’ll find out about them, and they’ll get reported to us,” said Steve Harrell of code enforcement. ”We do our compliance with them, the property owners take care of it and then we find another one gets set up someplace else.”
Wilmington Police Department’s Chief David Conklin said, “It is not illegal to be homeless, but it is the conduct that people get themselves involved with that we actually deal with.”
While some neighbors have called WWAY with concerns about the camps, others do not have a problem. “I’ve heard of them. They never bothered us, but I’ve heard of them,” said neighbor Aaron Moore.
Shelters are an alternative to living in the woods, but these homeless said they fill up quickly. Major Butch Mallard said the Salvation Army has seen a forty percent increase in the past year. “With the economy the way it is, it’s only going to get worse with unemployment and the foreclosures of houses.”
Mallard said they are adding more beds to meet the growing demand. “We have even the working families that are coming, with husband and wife both working – they can’t make ends meet.”
For those who have traded in a roof for a tarp over their heads, they said they just keep the hope that an opportunity will come their way.
Company officials with the warehouse where the camp was set up have been issued notices by code enforcement to have the property cleaned up by August 30th, or face fines. The company tells us they called the police Friday and had the area cleared out.
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