State transportation agency removes homeless people from their camp in Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas – A homeless camp in Little Rock was demolished with bulldozers.
The community had complained about an unsheltered camp on the site, according to the Arkansas Department of Transportation, so they decided to act.
Gloria Springer claimed that she has fought for the city’s assistance in improving the region for years. She claimed that she has spent her entire life in the same location.
Springer claimed that sixty years ago, the region along Interstate 440 and Springer Boulevard was something to be proud of.
“The community was very proud, one of the first neighborhoods of black people to buy homes in the city limits of Little Rock,” said Springer.
While the unsheltered camps were not there, as recounted by Springer, the area used to be home to a number of enterprises.
Springer expressed concern that the unsheltered communities are locating homes in the woods.
“We have students and children coming home from school and you can see the homeless camps all along the way to their home,” she said. “That would make you have low self esteem. You do not want your friends to see that. It makes you think less of yourself and your community.”
Springer wished the neighborhood would take more action.
“They are in the woods all around here,” she said. “I have had people speak of them coming out of the woods and scaring them and being cautious about the fact they know they are living back behind their homes. Nobody dislikes the homeless, but we dislike the conditions they are allowed to live in.”
The primary justification for demolishing the unsheltered encampment, according to ARDOT spokesperson Ellen Coulter, is safety.
“It was brought to our attention that there were unhoused people, transient population living in ARDOT right of way along the interstate and that immediately becomes a safety issue and that is also ARDOT property,” said Coulter.
The unsheltered community was given seven days to leave, according to Coulter.
She claimed that in order to provide resources to people without shelter, ARDOT collaborated with Little Rock’s homeless activists, neighborhood police, and highway police.
“We care about this population and we want to get help for them but at the same time we have to keep this section of the roadway clear,” said Coulter.
One local unsheltered woman claimed she wouldn’t have someplace to go if asked to leave where she is now residing.