Skip to Content

City of Columbia set to clean out homeless encampment next week


The City of Columbia says it will start cleaning out a homeless encampment located near the Highway 63 and Interstate 70 connector next week after receiving complaints from both the Department of Natural Resources and residents.

City spokeswoman Sydney Olsen said Monday that the clean-up will begin on April 24.

The city received a warning last month from the Department of Natural Resources about pollution in Hinkson Creek caused by trash pileups in the homeless encampment. Olsen said the city could not begin cleaning the area until those residing in the camps were given at least 30 days to find another place to live.

Olsen said she expects the clean-up to take roughly two days. But it could take longer, depending on how much trash is left in the area.

City officials and a private property owner have also worked in recent weeks to clean up a camp on the city's west side near the Columbia Mall.

Olsen also said the city is on schedule with its clean-up efforts for the camp, noting the 30 days to begin cleaning it started after city officials finished cleaning the camp near the Columbia Mall.

Olsen said that she believes some people have began moving their belongings out of the encampment, but expects many people will wait until the April 24 to do so.

"I think we have had some individuals who have left the area," Olsen said. "Of course, they still have a little bit of time left and so we'll probably see some folks probably moving things out of that area up until that last day. We'll also go out there the day of to give them that final warning that we're starting that cleaning process."

Steve Jacobs -- of the St. Francis House, a homeless shelter in Columbia -- said he has not seen an increase in people coming to the shelter since the last homeless encampment was demolished. He says this is in part because of the numerous organizations that bring food to homeless people. He also said that the city could be doing more to help the issue of homelessness in Columbia.

"It'd be nice if the city could support more substance abuse programs because you know we see a lot of people that are using.. and across the St. Francis house there's a lot of people that hangout there," Jacobs said.

Olsen said one lane on Highway 63 will be closed starting on April 24, while the city cleans the camp, and will stay closed for the duration of the time that it takes it to be cleaned.  

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

Jump to comments ↓

Nia Hinson


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content