City of Savannah says people from a now-evicted homeless camp are in shelter, jail or other camps
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The homeless camp under Truman Parkway existed for decades.
It has been just over a week since the City of Savannah shut it down and fenced it off.
The fire at the beginning of October was the last straw, according to the mayor.
“It’s not safe for people below or above. I’m reminded five years ago on I-85 in Atlanta when a similar structure fell and collapsed. I could not live with myself if we had this structure collapse,” said Mayor Van Johnson.
The threat to public safety, conditions of the camp, human waste and trash everywhere were a problem for years, but where did the people living there go?
“When you dislocate someone out of a place like that and don’t have a place for them to go, you can expect they’ll find another place to put up a homeless camp,” said Jermaine Ray, program director for the Old Savannah City Mission.
That’s what 30 of them did. They went to another camp, but not because they didn’t have the option of a shelter.
Four people from the camp are in jail because of felony warrants.
One person is in a shelter.
Ray said: “I knew it was them coming from the camp because they had everything with them. A couple of them came with wagons of stuff.
The mayor and the mission said some went to another camp because they don’t want change.
“Some agreed to the terms and some did not,” Ray said.
“Folks don’t want to live under anybody’s rules but their own and it causes another issue for us,” said Mayor Van Johnson.
The city said they have no evidence of new camps popping up, but they are doing what they can to find shelter for those who will take it.
Mayor Johnson said: “We want to give people the option to be able to live in shelters live with roofs over their heads, food to eat and running water.”
The city said at some point they also want to address camps from downtown to the southside.
“This is not an issue confined to the downtown, but this was our largest camp...most expansive camp. It made sense to start with the biggest one first.”
The mission said even if their beds are full, they will still find a way to help people in need who come through their doors.
The city said they’ve extended resources from shelters, pet rescues, over 30 beds in housing facilities, storage assistance, relocation assistance and beds in recovery.
Copyright 2022 WTOC. All rights reserved.