Concern over “Tent City” - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Concern billows in Columbus over “Tent City”

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A raid of a homeless group downtown has one Columbus ministry upset.

About ten men have been living for months in this "Tent City" under the Second Avenue Bridge, and they say at least 7 of them were arrested and locked up on loitering charges over the weekend.

This comes after complaints about prostitution and public urination in that specific area, but the homeless that live there deny doing any of that.

We spoke with Paul, one of the men arrested, who says if he's forced to leave he may have nowhere else to go.

"It's not like home, but it's well organized and we do have the things we need to get to showers, food, friendly people like Billy Bob and his wife," said Paul.

Paul also said local authorities made them a promise recently.

"Keep it clean, keep things up to date and make sure we know what's going on here, you guys can stay here, that's what they said, so we did our job, kept it clean," he said. "We also reported things going on."

"We've been bringing them garbage bags, rat repellent, cleaning supplies," said Ann Johns. "Everything under this bridge has been immaculate and clean - until recently, when everyone got put in jail.

"If they're so much of an eyesore and nobody wants to look at them, why doesn't the city have a fund, resource, or gather up donations and put them in a building?"

We have not been able to confirm with police why the men were arrested, but Muscogee County sheriff's deputies went back to this "Tent City" on Tuesday, looking for registered sex offenders.

Sheriff John Darr told WTVM News Leader 9 as long as the homeless group is not bothering anyone, they won't bother them.

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