Homeless Camp Disbanded On Disputed Property

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A homeless camp just north of I-10 off Monroe Street is the process of being dismantled.

The shutdown comes after Leon County Commissioners declared the area a nuisance.

Thurday was moving day for roughly 20 homeless people.

Their camp in a wooded area near the northbound Monroe Street exit off Interstate10 is being shut down.

A man named Tim says he's been living in this camp for about a year, but is optimistic he'll be okay.

"Always somebody out there that are going to help you," said Tim. I'm a key witness to that," he said.

"Causing a little anxiety in me, but I know I will survive, I'll go somewhere," said Julia who's lived in the camp six months.

Land owner Frank Dama says he didn't encourage the homeless people to set up on his property, but he hasn't stopped them either.

"I never had any contact with them at all because I didn't want the county to say I deliberately created the nuisance," said Dama.

But county leaders say after numerous complaints from neighbors, commissioners intervened to break up the camp.

It's the latest issue in a decades old Dama drama.

Dama says the county gave him a certificate to build a hotel, so long ago the developer promised to have it done before the 1996 Olympics.

But after waiting 8 years to resolve a drainage issue Dama says he was told he couldn't build a hotel because the property is in the Lake Jackson drainage basin and not a permitted land use.

An effort to build a restaurant on the property also failed.

As a result, Dama, who's a Florida State graduate, says he left Tallahassee.

"After more than a decade of trying to develop this piece of property, I finally decided I had to go somewhere else," he said.

The homeless people who've been living on his property are also moving.

"Some people choose this," said Julia. "I didn't choose this, but I thank God I did have a place to stay," she said.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office is working with Dama, the county attorney and the Big Bend Homeless Coalition to help the people leaving the camp.

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