SHAWNEE, Okla. – A picnic table in the shade is all James wants. He is homeless, living in Shawnee.
A local group is trying to drive out the homeless population in an effort to clean up the town. James says he knows he makes people uncomfortable, but he is not hurting anyone.
“I pick up every bit of my trash that I leave. I throw it in the trash can where it’s supposed to go. There’s a lot of people around here who don’t do that and they’re getting tired of it,” he said.
Jim Kinnamon is spearheading the movement. He says they plan to use strategies like cleaning up alleyways, putting up “no trespassing” signs, removing park benches and shutting off the water to get the homeless to leave.
“We can’t continue to let them just ruin our downtown by using it as their restroom, we can’t do that,” Kinnamon said.
“It’s never going to happen, there’s too many of us,” James said. “They don’t got enough room in the jail cells to put us all in.”
Amber Lawrence works with the homeless and says the city should be trying to help the people, not get rid of them.
“It’s going to take some people rising up ready to help your community. It’s going to take some people that have the endurance,” Lawrence said.
“It would be nice if somebody walked up to us and said ‘Can we help you? What can we do for you?’ But I don’t see that happening,” James said.
People on both sides are meeting Friday night at 7:00 to discuss a community solution on how to deal with their homeless population.
If you want to make donations to help the homeless in Shawnee, call Bridge The Gap Missions at (405)-899-4896.