Wilmington homeless camp must be cleaned in a week

Reported by Casey Roman - blog|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - One of the largest homeless camps in Wilmington was discovered  last month, just 24 hours after a group announced a new initiative to eliminate homelessness in the Cape Fear region.

Sharon Efird owns the 1.5 acre wooded area behind Lovitt's Auto Sales on Carolina Beach Road that about 75 other people have been calling home.

Authorities found tents, piles of trash, furniture, and even a makeshift memorial left by the homeless people in the area.

Efird learned that dozens of homeless people were living on her property when the city cited her for public nuisance.  Police posted signs warning that the area is private property and that it's illegal for anyone to camp out there.

Efird has until August 10 to clean up the property and get rid of the current tenants, or she will be fined $100 a day.

Efird had already hired a team who promised to handle the job, but just days away from her deadline trash is still everywhere, even piling up on the road.

So, resident Larry Ventura met with Efird Monday to map out a plan to clean up the area.  He said he has a $4,000 plan - guaranteed.

"You aren't going to see any of that stuff there - you're going to see mother nature," said Ventura.

Efird said she doesn't want to see any more homeless people on her property, which makes Ventura's offer a hard sell.  While his men are hard workers, they are homeless themselves.

"What I'm thinking right off the bat, right off the top of my head, I do have a problem paying homeless people to come in here and clean this up," said Efird.

Despite Ventura's promise, Efird hasn't accepted his offer at this time.  She is going to seek other options before making a commitment.

©2009 WECT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.