ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Those living in a a homeless camp on Hershberger Road blame a social media post for their being evicted from the spot.
A man living at the site says all of his friends left, and he has nowhere to go, since he is not welcome at certain overnight homeless shelters in the area.
Dawn Sandoval, the founder of The Least Of These Ministries, serves a lot of homeless and displaced in the Roanoke area who may not qualify for help from other services.
“Homeless folks have nowhere to shower, they have nowhere to be hygienically safe from a virus that has killed 200,000 people who are so much less fortunate, live outdoors regardless of the temperature, regardless of the conditions” Sandoval stated.
Sandoval sympathizes with those asked to leave the property.
“Look at the situation that these people are in. These people have no home, no escape in the midst of a pandemic.”
Mike Travis pan-handles just around the corner, two or three times a week. Travis explained how mental illness plays a large role in people ending up on the street and not qualifying for help.
“If you’re not mentally ill, you’re not going to be out here. Think about it, it’s common sense that tells you that,” he said.
Roanoke Police officials did say that they do not aim to cite or arrest homeless individuals for sleeping or frequenting an area.
“As I understand it, that’s private property. Until we are advised that there is trespassing at a property, we aren’t able to take any action. If there are signs and the property owner contacts us about trespassing, then we can do something.
If they are transient, we would rather get them the help they need than immediately issue a citation or take them to jail. That’s when we’d refer them to the Homeless Assistance Team to get them housing, medical help, clothes, whatever they needed”Roanoke Police Department
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