Neighbor seeks compassionate solution to homeless camp

Updated: Mar. 11, 2020 at 9:59 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - In Biloxi, residents who live near a homeless camp have turned to the city for help. Not only help for themselves, but also help for the homeless that live in the woods near them.

Wendell Pruitt has lived in his neighborhood between Veterans and Rodenberg Avenues for 25 years.

He said there have always been homeless living in the woods south of his home, but the problem has become worse.

He and his neighbors worry about small property theft, drug use and other issues.

“And then the health and sanitation issue,” Pruitt said," We’ve got at least 25 people living down there. They have no sanitary facilities, they have no water. It’s reached the point where we feel the city should be doing more to help these people to get out of the woods and into something secure and stable.

Pruitt knows about the city’s previous efforts to cope with the homeless, and he understands the problem does not have an easy solution.

“It has to be addressed, it’s not going to go away,” he said. “And if we don’t start addressing it at my level, and letting the elected officials know ‘you need to do something’ because we put you there to take care of problems like this. If we don’t’ raise that issue with them and stay steady on them, nothing will get done.”

Biloxi resident Wendell Pruitt believes diligence is the key to making change.

“If we work hard enough and enough people are putting enough effort in we can do something here to stop what we’ve got going on in our neighborhood,” Pruitt said.

An effort by the city is already underway. There is a new partnership between the Biloxi Police and the Open Doors Homeless Coalition to help the homeless find the resources they need to get them off the street.

“We all go out there and try to figure out what’s the best resolution for each individual Every individual has a different need, so with our partners it’s identifying what that need is, getting the proper resource and hopefully getting them there,” Major Chris DeBack from Biloxi Police said.

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