Garner Homelessness Hidden, Not Ignored
Posted April 30, 2004 11:41 a.m. EDT
GARNER, N.C. — In the town of Garner, homeless people are not often seen on the streets. Police say they are rarely seen at all, until you take a walk in the woods.
"It's mainly a wooded area where several homeless people have come together," said David Casteline of the Garner Police Department.
Behind the concrete jungle of shopping plazas is a burgeoning homeless community, surviving in the urban wilderness. The groups even have their own mayor.
"Whether it's a leader or an older person or someone who's been here a while, they will set the rules," Casteline said.
A Garner police officer pays a visit each day to make sure everyone is OK and to make sure nothing illegal is going on.
"Weve responded to calls back here for some illegal activities and we enforced any law that's been broken," Casteline said.
The police department estimates 25 to 50 people make up the homeless population. They say the people are segregated among their own ethnic groups. With warmer weather ahead, the population is expected to grow.
Garner Police say their approach is working and just because the homeless may be out of sight, they are not out of mind.