A homeless camp outside of an Owensboro park has sparked concern among neighbors and conversation among Owensboro city leaders.
It’s being called “tent city,” and some people are worried that most of them are going up on private property.
Issues with security, safety, and liability were brought up at the meeting in which city leaders addressed how to take the best approach.
They’re looking for solutions and how to create more awareness of resources such as where to find food and shelter. But even with those resources available, city officials discussed other challenges they might face regarding shelters.
St. Benedict Homeless Shelter’s Executive Director Harry Pedigo said, “I think where we see one of the barriers, is you have couples that are together that are not married, and a family shelter just won’t take in a couple that’s not married. And so trying to get those individuals to separate is almost impossible, which I totally understand. And I think that’s what a lot of the issue is.”
And while the city has churches and organizations that provide shelter and meals, many have limitations.
“I would also say that there are a lot of churches in the community, St. Vincent de Paul, and other organizations that have the ability to help in the short term. I don’t know just exactly how that you know how well they can help long term,” said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly.
There is also a growing problem with young people who are now out of the foster system due to their age and are facing being homeless.
One solution could be in the works; an addition to Third Baptist Church which would house 35 homeless high school students and a house parent.
“And one of the things that people have to understand and we don’t want people to suffer, we want to take care of those who are in need,” said Mattingly.