OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – There have been growing concerns in a neighborhood over a homeless campsite in Dolese park near Lake Hefner. The city does have plans to house some of the homeless, though the plans may take years. Neighbors in the area KFOR spoke to said the problem has been going on for years.
“Three years ago by one of the camp pavilions had started a fire no one would have to know…it was closer to the houses on our side. If the firefighters would not have got there, there was a chance of it coming over and potentially destroying homes,” said Terri Thweatt, who lives near Dolese Park.
Many concerned neighbors said the homeless encampments are inside the wooded areas of the park.
“You’ll see some people with clothing on and some just with blankets on depending on what time of the year it is,” said Thweatt.
She said it was safe to walk around, but sometimes there were moments that caused bigger concern.
“We had one incident where we had a gentleman just come sit and chill out on our front porch for a little bit and we tapped on the window and he got up and went back to the park,” said Thweatt.
That’s not all though. Thweatt said last week a man came to her house asking for a lighter to smoke a cigarette.
Oklahoma City does have a plan to help house the homeless. It’s part of the “Key to Home” partnership. The Homeless Alliance spoke with KFOR back in April and said the big push for the project starts on July 1st, but it could take up to 2 years to complete.
“Case managers go to a homeless camp and engage everyone in the camp in services and housing and then on a date certain all of the people in the camp are moved into housing with appropriate supportive services,” Dan Straughan, the Executive Director of the Homeless Alliance.
Thweatt said she has seen a homeless problem in Dolese park for at least six years. Now, she’s hoping the city will step in and help the families in the encampments.