Valdosta's homeless to be moved again -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta's homeless to be moved again

Councilman James Wright Councilman James Wright
Timothy Harper, homeless & lives in the tents Timothy Harper, homeless & lives in the tents

Officials with the Homeless Coalition in Valdosta are trying to move a group of homeless people from a residential neighborhood to a new location because of citizen complaints. The group was just moved last week from under the Patterson Street overpass because business owners were complaining.

Retired Army first sergeant, Timothy Harper says like most of the people living in the tents, he's just trying to back on his feet. And he's thankful to have a place to live.

"Valdosta PD is trying their best to help us out. They put us on this property to get us away from danger. A lot of cities I've lived in before, they wouldn't do that. They'd just tell you pack your stuff and move on," said Harper.

Valdosta police moved them from their previous home under the overpass in downtown Valdosta last week. Police say their safety was a concern and businesses were complaining about their living conditions.

But now so are residents who live near their new location in district one. Councilman James Wright says he's upset he wasn't told the homeless were being moved into his district.

"There's a proper way to do these things and there's an improper way. And I think this was done improperly," said Wright.

Right now there's no place for them to use the bathroom. And the public urination complaints when they lived under the overpass are being heard again here in the neighborhood. "The community is irate and in fear," said Wright.

The tents are set up on a private landowners property. But just past a fence, they're in the center of a residential neighborhood.

Harper says he understands why the neighbors are fearful. "I'd be kind of scared too having a couple homeless people living behind me."

But he wants the community to know they're not here to bother anybody. They just want to get back into society.

Valdosta Police are working with the Homeless Coalition to move the group to a non-residential area immediately. They're also helping them contact their families to move back to their hometowns. Those who want to stay are getting help finding jobs.

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