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Officials disassemble four homeless camps in Waco

Posted: 10:42 AM, Sep 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-19 06:18:52-04
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WACO, TX — Homelessness is an issue the City of Waco has been tackling, however local businesses have been left to deal with the consequences.

"They walk around all over the place, some of them ask for money," said U-Swirl worker Caitlyn McNamara. "I've actually had a homeless person sit at this table and he started yelling at customers for no reason."

At times, McNamara she said she feared for her own safety.

"We told him, 'Hey you need to leave because that's not OK,' and he threatened to kill somebody," recalled McNamara.

Earlier Wednesday, just down the road from U-Swirl, the Waco Police Department dissembled four homeless camps.

"This is somebody's private property that they have not received permission to be on," said Waco Police Sergeant Patrick Swanton.

Officers found large amounts of trash, syringes, even buckets of human waste, all of which have created hazardous conditions in the area.

"We can't stand for that. We can't stand for that as a community, nor as a police department to let that kind of behavior to go unchecked," said Sgt. Swanton.

But what happens to the people who call these camps home? That's where organizations like the Salvation Army step in to help.

"There isn't any of us among us who hasn't made a mistake some point in their lives," said Diana Barrett, with the Salvation Army

They provide people with just about any resource they may need.

"The greatest thing that we can do is just continue to show compassion, and so all you can do is just be there and keep trying and keep offering the resources and keep trying to show that there are opportunities," said Barrett.

The group's hard work has paid off, creating success stories like Gary Moore's.

"I'm happy because I've got my own place now," said Moore.

He was once homeless, and is now married with a full-time job.

"And thanks to Salvation Army and the good people around the Salvation Army, I finally got on my feet," said Moore.

"They are people too, and they you know want respect just like we do, and they're just trying to survive," said McNamara.

Another group looking to help those in need is Ascension Providence. They are scheduled to host a day of free medical care and health screenings .

The day of free medical care is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Waco Convention Center, located at 100 Washington Avenue.