Homeless Camps Near UA Clearing Amid Looming Deadline

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM/AP) — Homeless people living on a piece of property owned by the University of Arkansas have until tomorrow (Sep. 6) before they’re required to leave.

The university first announced Aug. 9 that people would be asked to clear out of the undeveloped property by Sept. 6.

University of Arkansas police has been working with local agencies, including the 7hills Homeless Center and the Salvation Army, to help find displaced people a place to go.

On Thursday (Sep. 6), UAPD officers will canvass the area to ensure nobody remains on the property.

“We’ll have our officers enter into the property and make sure that the property is cleared out so that we can begin the cleanup process on the following day,” said Capt. Matt Mills.

Anyone still be occupying the property would be issued a trespassing warning. “We would check them to make sure they’ve been issued a warning. If they have, we would enforce the warning. If not, we would issue a warning,” Mills said.

The nearly 60-acres of school property have been home to several dozen homeless people for some time.

University police officers have been dispatched to numerous calls to the area, along S. School Ave and W. 19th Street in South Fayetteville. UAPD dispatch logs show more than 50 response calls to that specific area.

Mills anticipated that clearing the property would put less strain on patrol officers.

“It will assist us in making sure that our resources are available to stay on the campus proper,” Mill said. “Rather than having to respond to calls out on the 19th Street properties.”

Up to 100 people lived at the camps in May, according to 7 Hills Homeless Center. About 25 people remained as of Tuesday, said Solomon Burchfield, the nonprofit’s director of operations.

Douglas Irwin was residing on the property as of Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 5).

“It is the University’s property and they’ve allowed homeless to come out here and camp, and I don’t see an issue with clearing them out if there’s a project in place for [the land],” Irwin said.

The university plans to post “no trespassing” signs on the property on Thursday, said Amy Schlesing, the university’s executive director of strategic communications. Last month, university spokesman Steve Voorhies said that efforts are underway to sell the land.