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City of Omaha: Encampment at 84th & Grover will be moved and cleaned

Posted at 7:27 PM, May 23, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Neighbors are concerned about the people experiencing homelessness near the Westgate neighborhood. What neighbors have experienced and what the city says their process is.

Westgate-area neighbors like Aimee and Justin share in concern for their neighborhoods.

"Until three years ago, we didn't have any issues with people coming and squatting into the neighborhood,” Aimee Forbes, a Westgate neighbor.

Especially when it comes to safety and aesthetics.

"My wife likes to ride her bike out there and it kind of makes her uncomfortable," said Justin Stungis, a Westridge neighbor.

Forbes hopes the city can find a solution.

"It's devastating for both groups of people, it really is, I do have heartfelt sorrow for them, they must be in a condition I have never been in," Forbes said.

"We don't want to just clear people out and move them along because that's not really solving the problem, it's just moving people around the city,” said Tamara Dwyer, the city's homeless outreach coordinator.

Reporter Molly Hudson asked Dwyer if this is a location that the city has contracted to clean up. Dwyer said it could be and explained the process.

"It would follow procedures of connecting people to resources, making sure they are in a safe place or connected to housing, connected to street outreach,” Dwyer said.

Her team conducts an assessment at different locations based on three categories -- impact to the community, impact to the people experiencing homelessness and impact to the environment.

"It isn't always going to be an immediate vacate just because it is there, like I said we have a process to connect people," Dwyer said.

Dwyer told Hudson Thursday afternoon they hope to have people to a safer place this week.

Her team plans to return Friday to make sure there isn't anyone still sleeping here; if they are, city staff will tell them they have to leave and will help find a shelter and make sure they can take all their things with them.

"I just suggest people like treat them like neighbors and you know if you are concerned about their safety ask them if they need help," Dwyer said. "Communities are much better and thrive in a positive way when everyone has a place to sleep that's inside."

Dwyer says the best thing concerned neighbors can do is give resources for street outreach and call the mayor's hotline. When that happens, it will be added to their location list, and they will visit it.