Police work to clear homeless shelter in Waldo neighborhood - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Police work to clear homeless shelter in Waldo neighborhood

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A homeless camp had taken root back in the summer at Sunnyside Park in some trees along the park's edge.  That was when officers Charles Owen and Jason Cote started coming by. A homeless camp had taken root back in the summer at Sunnyside Park in some trees along the park's edge. That was when officers Charles Owen and Jason Cote started coming by.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Homelessness in Waldo has been a problem. So much so, Kansas City police made it a mission to find a permanent solution.

After six months of work, it appears police may have succeeded Monday night.

A homeless camp had taken root back in the summer at Sunnyside Park in some trees along the park's edge.  That was when officers Charles Owen and Jason Cote started coming by.

"There was a lot of pornographic materials, sex toys, there were some things that we thought might be stolen merchandise," Cote said.  "I contacted parks and rec, and within two weeks, they were out here and they had everything cleaned out."

Now, the camp is gone. Even many of the trees used for shelter have been cleared.

Cote said there are fewer calls for police, and it is safer for residents to use the park.

The officers didn't just dismantled the shelter, they also connected the homeless living there with resources and agencies that can help.

"There's no reason for us to come in here and write a bunch of tickets to a bunch of people who are down on their luck or just living in the park. If we can come in here, get these folks into shelters, get them into places that will allow them to have some permanent housing, that's our main goal," Cote points out.

It worked for Gaylon Lewis, a veteran who found himself down on his luck and without a home.

Working the with Veteran's Administration, and the reStart program, officers helped move Lewis into an apartment.

"It's a blessing to get inside when I did," Lewis said.

Cote said the next stop is getting flyers out to every officer, so everyone can be prepared to work with the homeless they meet every day.

"These are the forgotten folks. If we can come in here and help these people live a normal, productive life, then they can start contributing to society as well," Cote said.

The flyers are awaiting final approval, but they list all city shelters, as well as services for mental health, substance abuse and homeless veterans.

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