Homeless men forced out of their camp searched for a new place to stay safe and warm on Tuesday. The camp that was demolished on Tuesday was hidden in the brush alongside Jordan Creek. Springfield Police say they got a complaint and asked the men to immediately move out their things and gave them citations for trespassing.
John Jenkins says he has lived in the makeshift home since September. He says he's been homeless for a couple years.
“I was in the Joplin tornado. I lost everything,” Jenkins said.
He and his friend, Jerry Burrow, stayed in their camp even on the coldest of nights.
“Insulation, three layers of tarp, candles. Candles is the best thing,” Jenkins said.
On Tuesday, while keeping warm at a day shelter, they heard their camp was in trouble. Police called in Department of Public Works crews to demolish the camp.
“Gave us a ticket; you got ten minutes to get out. Luckily, the city truck broke down, so it's been 20 minutes,” said Jenkins.
The city has been working in the West Meadows area for a couple of years, and there is a "No Trespassing" sign on the fence, but Jenkins says, other than that, they had no warning that their camp was about to be torn out.
“Down on the other end, down here, there's like 30 or 40 people, and they got a lot of troubles down there, so we were safe here, we thought. We're the first ones they moved out,” said Jenkins.
Now, they search for a new place to sleep and keep everything they own.
“We'll get what we need; sleeping bag, a backpack, personal paperwork, and tonight, stash it somewhere, which would be illegal too. We don't know right now,” said Jenkins.
They'll likely have to go to a cold weather shelter for the night, something these men prefer to avoid.
“The drunks, the drug addicts, it's just terrible,” Jenkins said.
They say they'll just take it an hour at a time, and aren't giving up hope that they'll somehow find what they need.
“A roof and a job, because you get a roof over your head, you can get a job,” Jenkins said.
Public Works employees made sure the men were able to retrieve what they needed from the campsite. Police say they made sure the men were aware of resources in the community and warming shelters. Police say three other extensive homeless camps are nearby, but they're on private property, so they were not disturbed.