Homeless found living on doorsteps in neighborhoods near downtow - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Homeless found living on doorsteps in neighborhoods near downtown

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The front porch of the Frazier home. The front porch of the Frazier home.
Nina Moseley Nina Moseley
Sandra Frazier Sandra Frazier
Councilman Tom Owen (D-District 8) Councilman Tom Owen (D-District 8)
A beer bottle found in the grass near one home. A beer bottle found in the grass near one home.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Building changes downtown are pushing the homeless population into local neighborhoods and onto doorsteps. Now, police and politicians are working to keep both the homeless and homeowners safe.

People who live in neighborhoods not far from downtown Louisville are used to seeing homeless folks once in a while in their neighborhoods without any problems, but lately the numbers have been increasing and some are actually moving in on their property.

"We know that the people who were congregating and living under Exit 0 in Jeffersonville,(Indiana) have been displaced now with the bridges, even the McDonald's over there has shut down," said Nina Moseley of Wayside Christian Mission.

Bridge construction on both sides of the Ohio River has sent many homeless packing. Homeless advocates like Moseley say unfortunately those who may have drug or alcohol issues and don't want to follow the rules of a shelter are looking for alternatives.

"I didn't view it as a public safety issue until I was talking to the police officer," said Sandra Frazier, a Highlands homeowner.

A few months ago, Frazier, who lives in the Cherokee Triangle, noticed some bizarre changes on her doorstep.

"You would come home in the afternoon and there would be trash stuffed in your mailbox," she said. 

Frazier understands it's part of living in an urban neighborhood, but the issue kept getting worse. Food and garbage turned into large liquor bottles and neighbors finding people sleeping on their porches. Homeowner George Becker told WAVE 3 News he watched a man steal mail from several homes and stuff it into a fence next to Louisville Collegiate School. Becker said the man wouldn't give the mail back and began talking to himself. When Becker called police, officers recognized the man as a person who was found in the shower of another neighbors' home.

"He was sitting in the bottom of a shower, "Becker told us, "but they couldn't arrest him for breaking and entering because they could not show where he had actually broken into the house."

"I don't think people realize that there's a whole mental illness aspect and there's a criminal aspect to it and I just don't think that people put it all together," Frazier added.

Major Mark Fox, Fifth Division commander of the Louisville Metro Police, said officers have been concentrating on getting squatters out of Tyler Park and Willow Park. Police have been working with Metro Councilman Tom Owen, a longtime resident of the Highlands, who agrees the problem is as bad as he's seen it. But Owen said it won't get any better until homeowners let homeless advocates do their job and draw a tough line in the sand when it comes to their property.  

"Not only is it scary for homeowners, "Owen said, "They should not tolerate it one minute, call the police." 

Moseley said homeowners can also call the Coalition for the Homeless and experienced staffers will come out who know how to deal with mental illness and substance abuse. She adds people in diverse neighborhoods are sometimes more inclined to help the homeless, but she warns never hand out money to the homeless. Instead, Moseley said making a phone call to get them into a shelter and the help they need is always the best option.

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