Residents: Vancouver neighborhood overrun by homeless campers - KPTV - FOX 12

Residents: Vancouver neighborhood overrun by homeless campers

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

Residents of a neighborhood near downtown Vancouver are fed up with what they call a growing population of homeless campers, who have brought with them increased crime and drug use.

Joe Lawson, who has lived near West 12th and Jefferson Street for 29 years, said the homeless in the neighborhood congregate around the Share House, an organization that provides services and free meals to the public.  Many who frequent the Share House appear to have become permanent fixtures in the neighborhood, said Lawson.

“The other night before the cops went through there, you couldn’t fit another person in between.  It was all campsites, all the way down and all the way up one end of the BN’s property,” said Lawson.

Kim Kapp, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department, said officers are frequently dispatched to the neighborhood.  Kapp said camping on the street is illegal in the city, and anyone suspected of doing so is asked to leave.

But Laurie Tilton, who lives down the street from the Share House, said most of the people who are asked to leave just come back a few hours later.

“The police chase them out and then they’re back again.  It doesn’t do any good.  There’s no place for them to go,” said Tilton.

A developer is in the process of building 30 units of low income housing in the neighborhood, but neighbors like Tilton doubt that will have much, if any, impact on the homeless population.

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