The city of Fayetteville taking a big step to address the issue of homelessness. Monday, officials announced the city is clearing the city's largest campsite at Gillespie Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway--and pushing the people living there to take advantage of resources that can get them housing.
Officials say clearing campsites like this one are in the best interest of everyone in the city, as the campsites bring safety hazards and unsanitary conditions.
People at the site tell ABC11 they don't want to leave, as they're hesitant to leave their community here behind. They said it was jarring to hear they'd have to leave by May 3 or be cited for trespassing. However, the city says they are trying to get these people on the street some help.
"We understand that we're not going to solve homelessness with these efforts but we're doing our best to manage what we can with the resources we have available," said Loren Bymer, the marketing and communications director for the city of Fayetteville.
If they call Coordinated Entry, campers can get to stay at a hotel for 21 days for free and get their first month's rent and a down payment on long-term housing paid for by the city. Local advocates commend the city for their effort but say it's more complicated than throwing money at the problem.
"Getting someone off the street is only a small piece of the puzzle," said Craig Morrison, the executive director of Operation Inasmuch. "And so a lot of what we're facing here is folks who have mental illnesses, folks who have legal issues, folks who have family barriers, folks who have substance abuse. So you've got multiple barriers that are stacking on top of one another that really create this mountain that someone has to try to climb."
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City officials say they plan on clearing three more homeless campsites in Fayetteville.
There is currently is no definitive timeline for those clearing efforts.