FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFTA) — A cleanup effort started Tuesday at a deserted homeless encampment in Fort Smith.
The camp, known as “South Camp,” is located on railroad property at the west end of South E Street near Hope Campus, according to a City of Fort Smith news release.
“Social service agencies such as Hope, Next Step, Salvation Army, United Way and others have worked hand-in-hand with [railroad] police, the city and FSPD since late spring, coaxing people out of the camp and matching them with available services,” the news release states. “A few even have landed employment at the Sanitation Department, working at the landfill.”
Bulldozers will scoop up the trash and debris left behind over the next couple of days, hauling it away in construction-sized dumpsters. Brush hogs will be used to clear the overgrowth, and the railroad will build a fence to close off the area.
People illegally camping on and along railroad tracks, between the area just west of the Hope Campus and up to the river’s edge, posed a danger to the people themselves and to RR workers, according to the news release.
“Local agencies and authorities have worked together for months to help the homeless who agreed to accept assistance so that the camp could be broken up and the area cleared out,” the news release states.