City officials will clear out another Denton homeless camp this week, this time off South Loop 288.
Authorities estimate nearly 30 people have lived beneath a Loop 288 bridge in the Pecan Creek area. It’s a wooded area not far from the Denton Central Appraisal District office on Morse Street.
Citing health and safety concerns, officials with the city’s Street Outreach Team will post signs Wednesday in the area notifying camp residents to remove their belongings. About 15 days after that, crews will begin removing the mounds of trash, personal items and left-behind tents.
“We have individuals that are living on this property who are experiencing homelessness,” said Outreach Team coordinator Wendy Noble. “Some of them have for years and years. We are desperately trying to find appropriate housing for these folks.”
On Monday afternoon, there was virtually nobody in the camp. But it is clear people having been living there. It’ll cost about $7,000 for the city to pay a contractor to clean up the area, according to a city memo laying out the plans for the area.
The Street Outreach Team — which includes members of the Denton police and fire departments, Denton County MHMR and Vision Ministries — is led by Giving Hope. The group identifies spots like this one and tries to connect homeless people with resources to get back on their feet.
The memo outlines that the Outreach Team has visited the Pecan Creek site several times and has already begun connecting people with needed resources. The city says the area has health concerns because of the visible food and bodily waste. There are also environmental concerns, the memo reads, because of the camp’s proximity to the creek.
In a growing city with two homeless shelters and a tough housing market that caters largely to college students, clearing out a homeless camp like this one means potentially shuffling people to the next camp.
“Housing is limited in Denton when it comes to that population because of the college housing,” Noble said. “I’m just concerned that if we displace them, that they’re going to find somewhere else to go and have to survive. They’re people, and they have to have shelter.”
The city memo notes that officials cleared out another camp just yards from this one. In fall 2017, a site in Pebblebrook Park got the same treatment after crews visited the site several times.
In March, a city-contracted cleanup service removed litter from a homeless camp in a wooded area in North Lakes Park. That one cost the city about $3,000.