Projects, development moving homeless camps in Chatham County

(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - To the east and west of downtown Savannah, major projects currently underway are shifting major populations of the city's homeless.

Homeless advocates are saying they have major concerns for the health and safety of those groups.

The Homeless Authority says over the past year around 10 camps have dissolved.

In a perfect world, the director of the Authority for the Homeless says they'd have a site for all to camp at that could be managed and offer the basic comforts.

Right now, that camp site doesn't exist and the authority has called on local government to help them identify an area where one could be located.

Until that time, projects like the development of the Canal District and the President Street improvements paired with the River Landings development will continue to move homeless populations around.

"I know this conversation is happening, that as development happens, we'll just move people out. Well, no. We're not going to move them out, or move them gone...we are going to move them to other places that are going to be more problematic for our residents," said Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless Executive Director Cindy Kelley.

Kelley says they typically don't have any issues with major violence within camps, but fears that could change with overcrowding.

"There's more crowding, there's more tension, and this is not good for anyone," Kelley said.

There are also ever-present health concerns, only compounded as the homeless population shifts.

"We've had scabies outbreaks, and lice and a lot of misery. We've had a lot of rain this year so, bugs, there's just a lot of concerns," Kelley said.

She says typically, the homeless only get a week to move out of an area that's being developed before the landowner starts clearing them out.

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