'I don’t know where they’re gonna go’: Most homeless flee torn down Charlotte camp

Most homeless flee torn down Charlotte camp, disappear

CHARLOTTE — It will likely be several more days before a large homeless camp just outside of uptown is cleaned up.

Channel 9 saw a crew of four Wednesday trying to remove the remnants of the abandoned site from a small wooded area off North Tryon Street.

The City of Charlotte ordered the camp vacated due to health and safety concerns and cited the property owner, CSX Railroad, for the potential hazards there.

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A worker told Channel 9 he has been at the camp all week, picking up trash, taking down tents and removing clothes, shoes and blankets.

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Michael Dash said Wednesday afternoon that he stayed at the camp last month.

"It was cold, but it's a place for the people to stay, you know what I'm saying? Now, they got to find somewhere else to go, but I don't know where they're gonna go," he said.

Dash said most homeless won't go to the shelter at Urban Ministries feet away from the abandoned camp. Several people outside that shelter told Channel 9 they have not seen anyone new show up there since the camp was evacuated.

Last week, Charlotte code enforcement officials cited CSX for code violations on their property. The homeless camp sits just off a CSX rail line. So last week, the railroad notified everyone they could find about the citation, while shelters helped get the word out, too.

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CSX statement to Channel 9:

"At CSX, safety is our top priority. Being on railroad property without permission is trespassing, which is illegal and can result in serious injuries.

“On Jan. 21, CSX received notification from the City of Charlotte citing health and sanitation violations on our property.

“We worked with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and local shelters to provide relocation notices and transition individuals who had been occupying CSX property near an active rail line to safer living situations in advance of the cleanup effort.

“CSX strives to be a good neighbor in the communities where we operate and we are committed to working with the appropriate agencies to resolve the public health and safety concerns."

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham has spent time with the area's homeless population and questioned moving the people out, especially with little affordable housing available in Charlotte.

"So many of these people, they have jobs. That's why they aren't there during the day. So, they come back and find their tents are gone and all their stuff. It's awful. I'm just beside myself," Cotham said.

People in the area said it’s likely most of the people at the camp left to find another place to stay, not including shelters.

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