ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – For the last several weeks the City of Englewood has been telling homeless campers along the South Platte River they must move. Those still refusing to leave could be arrested as of Wednesday.
“We’re like family, you know, a lot of us have known each other for years,” said Bennett, a homeless man who has been living along the South Platte River.
“To be displaced out of your home and everything you know–it’s hard,” he said.
With the help of cleanup crews and Englewood Police, campers sorted through their belongings, deciding what would be hauled away as trash and what they would try to take with them.
“Load up the carts and take it to a spot that we were luckily able to acquire. Not everybody’s as lucky,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of voluntary compliance going on, we, by and large, have people who have chosen to move out. We have not had to arrest anyone, we’re very happy with that,” said Sgt. Reid McGrath with the Englewood Police Department.
“We’re encountering a lot more trash than we had initially projected, we’re not able to keep up with dumpster load.”
One encampment CBS4 saw had constructed a shelter complete with a wooden foundation, functioning door. Solar panels and car batteries provided power to the unit.
The path ahead for these homeless residents is unsure, they just know they can no longer stay along the river.
“Nobody really wants to take the time to come out here and do what it takes to help folks like that, they just kind of sweep them under the carpet and forget about them. It’s a shame they are human lives and they have value as well,” said Bennett.
After the camps are removed, and the cleanup is complete, the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District will begin a reseeding campaign to mitigate the damage to the river bank.