Homeless Camp Has Neighbors Divided

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By Eames Yates
July 2, 2013

Valdosta, GA - Residents that border a new homeless camp in Valdosta are reacting to their new neighbors.

Valdosta's recently relocated camp for the homeless has been provided food daily by a woman named Ms. Cookie and the homeless in the camp tell me they're in generally good spirits. But not everyone's happy...

Last Wednesday, eleven homeless people were relocated from under the overpass in Downtown Valdosta to an empty lot on Alley Street. The City of Valdosta and the South Georgia Coalition to End Homelessness helped with the move, providing tents and blankets. But folks who live near Alley Street are divided when it comes to the new camp.

Patricia Tooley, homeless camp neighbor: "They don't have running water so they're probably using other peoples water and it's just posing a big problem because, you know, we have to kind of like put extra guard for ourselves and our kids because they're over there."

Eli Burgman, homeless camp neighbor: "I don't have no complaints at all. It's a better way of living for them. Like I said, get them off that bridge so they can have something soft to sleep on, keep them from the rain."

Brian Childress, Valdosta Police Chief: "It's not a perfect situation. I'll admit that and the residents even told me that if they had their preference, you know, these folks wouldn't be there. On the other hand I've had several folks call me back and tell me that they understand what we were trying to do."

Although the camp began with eleven people, about half have moved after getting jobs and free travel fare to go home. That's because of efforts from the South Georgia Coalition to End Homelessness.

The homeless here in this camp say they've been promised a Port-A-Potty. City Council member Deidra White says she's personally going to pay for it.

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