New construction project to force out homeless camp - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

New construction project to force out homeless camp

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

You may see some changed along President Street in the next few months.

The President Street Improvement Project is bound to cause some delays for drivers, but the biggest impact will be felt by the homeless community that resides on the south side of President Street, just before the Truman Parkway Bridge.

Residents who live in the homeless camp off of President Street said they truly don't know where they are going to go as the city makes way for a drainage project that will raise President Street several feet.

"Well, I think that there are gonna be a lot of people that's homeless and gone be hurt," said Kenneth Brown, a resident of the homeless camp. "You know what I mean, because some of them done been out here for years."

Brown has lived in the camp off of President Street near McIntosh Boulevard for several months after losing his job, but come August, he will need to find somewhere else to go as the city prepares for a President Street Improvement Project.  

"It will raise President Street, which will help some of the drainage problems," said Joe Shearhouse with the city's Community and Economic Development. "It will wide some canals to allow that water to escape the area."

City officials said this area will be no more as a canal will run right through it.

"Some of the areas where the homeless are located will be impacted by some aspects of the project, including the canal widening," said Shearhouse.

"Where are we supposed to go," said homeless camp resident Kevin Simon. "We have nowhere to go. We all can't fit in a shelter. That is why I think it is a bad thing."

Residents in the camp are truly at a loss for what they should do.

"I have been here two years and I can't afford rent," Simon said. "I am trying to work, but at $7.25 an hour, you can't afford an apartment. Not at that wage. Doing the best I can."

Others don't even know what is to come.

"The ones that don't know man will be like a surprise to them, ya know?" said Brown.

"We got some short term goals to provide resources, case managers, service providers, additional resources to make sure they are better aware," said Shearhouse. "And we want to see what we can do from the project side to minimize the impact on their life."

The homeless camp residents said there is no way around it, this is home. Just as they feel they are getting back on their feet, they are being uprooted again.

The President Street Construction Project is expected to begin in the next few months.

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