FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)— It’s now a crime for homeless people to stay at a former camp on University of Arkansas property.
The wooded area off school avenue in south Fayetteville was cleared by UAPD Thursday(Sept. 6) morning.
A month ago on August 9th when the University announced they were clearing the land close to 100 people were living on the close to a 60-acre plot of land.
“Yesterday we weren’t homeless, we were alternative campers. Today we are homeless, “ Jersey said.
Now signs line the former homeless camp that read “State property—No trespassing.”
Jersey is of those people who had been living at the homeless camp and is now looking for somewhere to go.
“The community has been real good with food, donations and clothing and so on. We need a place to go whether it’s a farmer’s field for a few days, a week, a month whatever. We are going to set up a community,” he said.
CEO of 7Hills Homeless Shelter, Jessica Andrews said through a resource fair along with the university they were able to find many of those people who lived in the camp shelter in the weeks leading up to the closure.
“We really haven’t seen much of a change at the day center today except for those select few who don’t have a place to go, there are probably about 20 of those individuals and we’ve just kind of opened up our property here for them to store their personal items,” Andrews said.
7hills is offering parking to people with vehicles to safely park at the center overnight, but they only have three spots left.
Police said the homeless camp put a strain on the department.
University Spokesman, Mark Rushing said while they know this is tough for those who lived there, this effort is all about safety.
“We want to make sure we are being as compassionate as possible to each individual and treating their situations on a case by case basis. We are so thankful for all the community partners that are participating in helping us find more permanent and safe housing,” he said.
This property has been for sale for quite a while and beginning Friday(Sept.7) morning the university will begin cleaning up the debris before clearing brush and trimming trees.
UAPD did have to arrest three people when they were officially clearing the property this meaningful.
The Salvation Army is providing shelter for people who need a place to sleep at night.