SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — People who have been living on vacant private property for months are now having to leave after complaints of the property being a nuisance.
The contractor hired by the property owner to clean up the lot behind a business on Kearney Street claims he couldn’t get these people to leave.
Christi Love, a pastor of the Connecting Grounds Church, made a Facebook live during the eviction.
“We’ve got a lot of people,” said Love. “I’ve got medically vulnerable people out there. We have people that were given zero notice to know what to do.”
Rhonda Davis, an advocate for the homeless, said her ex-husband died of hypothermia last February because he had no warm place to stay.
“Every belonging they have is right here with them today,” said Davis. “And these people are giving them 30 minutes to get them out of here. It’s muddy, it’s wet, they had no notice. They have nowhere to go, and they all keep telling me- the business owner tells me that there’s plenty of places to go. Well, I hate to tell you that if one of your family members was in this position, there are not plenty of places for them to go. I searched and searched for places for my husband to go, and their all full. There are too many homeless people and not enough shelter.”
This comes as a task force made up of groups like the NAACP and the Connecting Grounds try to persuade the city to allow tents to be set up in designated areas in Springfield instead of private property.
“Because the truth of the matter is, in Springfield, there is no place for them to go. That’s exactly what we’re asking city council to do is designate a safe, legal place where we can take everybody,” said Love.
The homeless individuals living on the private property were initially told they had 30 minutes to pack up and leave. Although officers on scene agreed to extend the deadline to 24 hours, the property owner said he will wait to call clean up crews back on Monday, Dec. 21.