ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - An eyesore, a health code violation, and an obstruction are what a homeless encampment is causing in the Dutchtown neighborhood.
“My neighbor had to call the police because they were pooping and it was going down the drain,” said Candy Johnson.
Some residents say they’ve been complaining for months after a couple turned the corner of Chippewa and Hydraulic Avenue into their home. The makeshift tent wrapped with blankets and surrounded by water jugs covers the corner, forcing pedestrians to walk around.
“I tried to offer them food, they won’t take food, but they will take money,” Johnson said.
Resident Candy Johnson says she witnessed police intervene in past months, but says the nomadic pair bounces from corner to corner and residents say they’ve been at this corner for the longest.
"They even sit outside and they bathe and everything,” Johnson said.
News 4 tried speaking with the individuals in the tent, they declined to talk to us. News 4 reached out to the police department to see if this couple is violating any city ordinances and are waiting to hear back. We also reached out to Alderman Shane Cohn’s office, who says this has been an ongoing issue for years. He says the couple are refugee Nigerians who have refused the city’s help. Cohn says they have tried on a number of occasions to offer resources and relocation services to the couple.
Mayor Tishaura Jones' office told News 4 they forwarded this information to the Citizens Service Bureau. A spokesperson says they are currently looking into this issue. Alderwoman Megan Green, who works with St. Louis' homeless population, says the couple has been in the Tower Grove area in the past. She says there are number of compounding issues that makes removing this couple difficult. She’s encouraging residents to reach out to their alderman and not police so that they can be connected with proper resources. She also encourages residents to reach out to BJC’s street outreach program.