FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Fayetteville couple is allowing a group of homeless people to stay on their property, but a woman living nearby said it’s bringing trouble. The city’s code enforcement department said it appears nothing illegal is happening.
Jacqueline Hooper lives in the Varsity House Apartments on Lt. Col. Leroy Pond Ave. in Fayetteville, across the street from the 4-plex where homeless people camp outside.
“They’re stealing from our cars, opening bags of trash, harassing us, bothering us,” Hooper said. “We don’t feel safe here. This is Fayetteville. We should feel safe.”
Richard and Gladys Tiffany own the 4-plex. Richard Tiffany said people have camped at the property for the last five years, and he and his wife welcome them.
“A lot of the homeless people stay there a night or two, maybe a week or two,” Richard Tiffany said. “There’s a few that’ve been there for months at a time.”
Richard Tiffany said the pandemic increased the number of homeless people in the area, and despite new initiatives by the city and nonprofit groups, it’s a problem that hasn’t been fixed.
“There’s times where we’ve had over a dozen people camp there just because people don’t have someplace else to go,” Richard Tiffany said.
Fayetteville Police records show there’ve been eight calls involving that address in the last three months. Code enforcement said there’s a junk and debris violation that the Tiffanys have 10 days to respond to, but there’s nothing more serious than that. As long as they’re not making people pay to stay on the property, there’s no ordinance being violated.
“As far as we know, the owner could be just letting them stay there for free,” said Billy Bryant, the Senior Code Compliance Officer for Fayetteville. “Therefore, they’re not breaking any ordinances.”
D’Andre Jones is a city council member for Ward 1, and he said the city knows what’s going on. It’s doing what it can to address homelessness in the area, Jones said.
“This is an opportunity for us to continue to have the conversation around making sure our homeless community [is safe,] that there are resources for them,” Jones said.
Gladys Tiffany said turning away these people isn’t in her nature, and it’s also not in Fayetteville’s.
“That’s a human being underneath that scary looking exterior, and they need some assistance,” Gladys Tiffany said. “It’s critical assistance.”