Homeless camps must go at Gulfport/Biloxi line - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Homeless camps must go at Gulfport/Biloxi line

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

People who live in some homeless camps in Biloxi are being asked to leave.

At the end of December, a homeless man was arrested and charged with stabbing another person in the area around DeBuys Road and Eula Street. That was the final straw for some neighbors, who complained to the city's code enforcement office.

The city notified the land owner that the camps violate city code. But homeless advocates say at least one camp on the property should be spared. Homeless advocate Linda Favre, founder of Shepherd of the Gulf says some camps are unsightly, but there's one camp that's "well kept," clean and even landscaped. War veteran Gary Rayburn calls it home.

"He's done a beautiful job with it, he's worked hard, he's very proud of it," Favre said. "He has been a major help with Shepherd of the Gulf by having storage areas by helping to provide items to the other homeless that come along."

"They are very generous in donating to the public, so we use this as a drop off point so that stuff can come here and then it's distributed out," Gary Rayburn said.

Biloxi's Community Development Director received complaints about the homeless camps. Jerry Creel told WLOX News, "We sent a letter to the property owner and once he got a letter of the violation and possible citation, the owner chose to ask them to leave. We did also find unsanitary conditions with make shift toilets and trash."

Favre said she understands the land owner's dilemma, but wishes this one "showcase camp," could be spared.

"It tears my heart down because he's gonna lose all this simply because other people broke the law and now he's being forced to leave because of what other people have done," Favre said. 

Rayburn hopes the land owner will reconsider. 

"There's no trash here, no sewer problems and no water problems," Rayburn said. "As you can see, it's a quiet, nice little camp to be at."

City officials didn't identify the person who owns the land where Rayburn's camp is located. A notice has been posted that all camps will be taken down by this Thursday, January 15th.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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