Police said they were tipped off when cleaning up another area of Auburn Ravine, a hot spot for homeless in the city. They noticed a metal grate had been removed and that a homemade bridge and ramp were added to get inside the area. The space was completed with a bed, stove, poster on the wall, and a lot of trash.
A 72-hour notice to vacate the illegal campsite was posted last week. When police and the cleaning company showed up to the area Thursday morning, they filled two dump trucks full of needles, gallon bottles filled with urine, and rotted food, along with other trash.
The question being asked now is where do the homeless go next? Police said anytime they encounter homeless individuals, they refer them to services offered, which they also write on the notice to vacate. The city offers counseling and food services, but the closest shelter is two towns away in Roseville. Police said that because of shelter rules and drug and mental issues, many individuals don’t take advantage of the services but instead rely on others for help.
Unfortunately, this sometimes leads them right back where they started. Chief Doug Lee said:
“Most of the homeless people we deal with have some sort of connection to Lincoln. They have friends or relatives here who let them sleep on a couch or a garage or trailer in their backyard and then they wear out their welcome and are back on the street again. We’re not pushing them out to the next field over, they disappear for a while probably into somebody else’s house.”
Alfonso Vargas, a Lincoln native who lives near the Highway 65 bypass, said he has noticed an increase of homeless individuals in the area. He told CNN that he is not bothered, but is concerned and hopes for a change to help both parties involved.