Invoices show costs to clear Truman Parkway homeless camp

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 2:03 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 2:13 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s been two months since a fire under a highway overpass forced the people who lived there to move out.

The area looks dramatically different today than it did for decades where a homeless encampment used to be underneath the Truman Parkway at East President Street.

Dozens of tents, shopping carts, household items, mounds of trash and recently burnt debris filled the area. Today – it’s completely cleared out and fenced off.

Invoice records sent to WTOC show private contractors billed the City of Savannah more than $571,000 for the work that began on Oct. 14.

Through an open records request, our WTOC Investigates team received copies of the invoices.

Johnson-Laux Construction LLC sent a proposal totaling $514,000 for the cost to bring in heavy equipment and manpower to demolish the site and removing mounds of garbage, debris and dozens of trees.

Samjay Services billed an additional $56,000 to put up this barbed wire, 8-foot-tall fence. The fence includes a six-month rental agreement that expires on March 30.

A shipment of 20 storage trunks filled with personal possessions to the Savannah-Chatham County Homeless Authority cost about $1,400, according to another invoice.

The plan for the move began after a large fire at the camp on Oct. 1. Engineers determined it caused minimal structural damage to the bridge but said any future fires could be catastrophic.

The site visits also renewed city concerns about the unsanitary living conditions at the camp. WTOC Investigates saw those conditions up close last year.

Several of those who lived at the camp said they suffered from mental health, substance abuse issues and others were registered sex offenders who said they had no place else to live.

Everyone living at the camp was relocated by Oct. 13.

The city says about 20 people living there moved to other homeless camps in the city.