ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke crews recently cleaned up a homeless encampment along Hershberger Road behind Lowe’s and Kroger. The area was full of trash and debris.

Businesses say they dealt with a lot theft and attribute it to people who may have been living there.

WFXR News reached out to the human service administrator with the City of Roanoke, who oversees these clean-ups. As of this writing, we have not heard back.

Kevin Berry, the outreach manager for the Rescue Mission of Roanoke, says the shelter hasn’t seen a big influx of new faces since the encampment was emptied, but quite a few more people have stayed at the shelter since the start of the year.

“We have seen an increase of almost 50% in terms of individuals coming to get emergency shelter at the mission since the beginning of the year,” said Berry.

Overall, Berry says there are more than 200 people who are homeless in the City of Roanoke. He says the goal is to bring that number down to zero.