by Sam Hieb
Greensboro News & Record reports city inspection officials have sent word to ‘residents’ of a homeless camp located on private property near downtown owned by a local plumbing supply company that they must disburse:
Jesse Franklin is among a dozen people living in seven tents in a wooded area off Washington Street that’s between a plumbing supply business and a church. The camp is within walking distance of the bus lines, a day center for the homeless and groups offering community meals.
“Where are we supposed to go?” asked Franklin, standing in front of his green nylon tent.
…Jim Harris, the operations manager at Greensboro Plumbing Supply, which leases the property from someone in California, said there have been a few complaints, which he didn’t have details about. He added that the company also has future plans for the property.
“There’s also a real liability issue for the owner,” said Harris, who put up “No Trespassing” signs Thursday, which the police require before clearing out a camp.
N&R notes that some camp residents “say they do not want to stay in shelters, which they think can be unsafe, and will bide their time in tents where they can follow their own schedules.” Mayor Nancy Vaughan adds that the crackdown should be motivation enough to put an affordable housing bond on the ballot for the November election.
Maybe it’s me, but I perceive I slight spin in the N&R’s story—the reporter notes how the camp on the plumbing supply property has “its own community trash can and a gathering space with chairs” and even has “its own rules and meetings.”
All fine and good, and indeed the city does need to address housing for the homeless, although I honestly do not see a proposed affordable housing bond passing in November. Bottom line is the “residents” are camping on someone else’s property, and the owner of that property has the right to maintain it as he sees fit.