National News

Homeless Campground Proposal To Go Before Fayetteville City Council

Posted November 15, 2017 11:59 a.m. EST

— A proposed homeless campground in south Fayetteville is one step closer to becoming a reality, after the city planning commission approved the project Monday (Nov. 13).

The facility, called New Beginnings, would be built on 19th Street and allow room for around 25 homeless people. The local group, Serve NWA, is behind the proposal.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, University of Arkansas professor and Serve NWA board member, is one of the camp's organizers. The project would provide emergency to transitional shelter to help those struggling to find shelter.

After passing the planning commission, the shelter will go before the full city council.

Organizers assure that there will be steps in place to select who will live at the camp. Before accepting people, Serve NWA will evaluate where the prospective residents are, in terms of health, and what types of services they need.

"Who's a good candidate. Who's ready to be out of this circumstance and on the pathway to more stable housing," Fitzpatrick explained. He stressed that the campground would not a permanent solution, allowing residents to stay for up to 180 days.

"What we want to do is put a roof over their head first and then evaluate them carefully and then begin to think about what's it going to take for their pathway to stable housing," Fitzpatrick said.

Several homeowners near the proposed site are against the idea, citing property values, but Fitzpatrick said something needs to be done.

"We get really uncomfortable when it's visible, and I want it to be really visible," Fitzpatrick said. "I want us to get uncomfortable because the more uncomfortable we are, the more likely it is we're going to do something about it."