Baton Rouge leaders addressing continued concerns of homeless camps, illegal dump sites

Homeless camps are a common scene across the country, and Baton Rouge is no exception.
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 10:50 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Homeless camps are a common scene across the country, and Baton Rouge is no exception.

According to a recent study, more than 3000 people experience homelessness in Louisiana on any given day.

“The amount of trash that accumulates at a homeless camp is unbelievable,” Parry Thomas said. “There are a lot of homeless people in Baton Rouge, and the camps are intruding our neighborhoods.”

Thomas does volunteer work with Keep Tiger Town Beautiful, an organization dedicated to cleaning up different parts of the city-parish.

At any given moment, he claims you can find needles, used diapers, and even human waste at some of these homeless camps and dumping sites.

“Last time we cleaned it up this one spot off Siegen Lane… it took 16 people and 3 hours to clean it up.”

Baton Rouge leaders say this is an issue they are trying to address.

A spokesperson from the mayor’s office posted a video on the social media app ‘Next Door’ that showed workers cleaning up an illegal dump site off O’Neal Lane on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

In a separate move, the Metro Council back in August 2022 passed an ordinance that made it illegal for people to camp or set up a tent on a right-of-way to help curb the problem.

There’s also an outreach group called The Behavioral Health Homelessness Outreach Team, or ‘HOT Team’ for short.

The group goes out every week to some of the worst spots in the city to offer resources to the people living in these camps, but trying to get them to accept the help is a road block the city continues to face.

“I hate to say it, but I think some of these people like living this way,” Thomas said.

However, there is optimism.

“I have somewhat, some sympathy for them, but I would really like to see if the city could find a way to persuade them to change their lifestyle,” Thomas said.

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