BANGOR- “Life is precious. These are people. These are lives out here,” said Shannon Denbow, who is working to get the city to take further action on the issue of homelessness in Bangor.
Lives that some claim are being treated unfairly.
“I just don’t know what gives anybody a right to throw anybodys stuff away. Especially when it’s coming right down to survival,” said Denbow.
With temperatures reaching single digits, the City of Bangor is facing backlash for clearing out a homeless camp by the Bangor waterfront and I-395 overpass.
“It’s not right. It’s just not right,” said Denbow.
In a statement from Bangor Police Sergeant Tim Cotton, he says there have been a number of disturbances and reports of fighting coming from the site.
Over the summer, officials were involved in an investigation, ultimately ending in two women being charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
He says there are a number of organizations working to help solve the issue and get these people in a safe environment.
But Flash and Shannon argue that shelters aren’t necessarily a safe space for everyone.
“Mental issues. They can’t be around other people. There are a number of reasons that they can’t be in there so they’ve got to be on the street or they want to be on the street,” said Flash Kellish, who is also working to create a committee to combat the issue.
Sergeant Cotton also says they gave the people living in the encampment plenty of notice, saying, “We worked closely with the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter’s outreach program several weeks in advance and began notifying those in the encampment they must relocate. Most of the folks living at the camp site were aided by the outreach program and found other options. Those who refused to leave were asked to leave by the police. Everyone at the camp site had several weeks of notice and several weeks to move personal items from the site.”
But community members aren’t so sure.
“How do they let these folks know? What do they do, send somebody down here every week to keep them posted? I mean they don’t have Facebook here,” said Kellish.
After meeting with the chief of the Bangor Police Department and the city manager, they have decided to spearhead a committee, complete with officials, community members, and city councilors, to help combat this growing issue.
“The bottom line is, when it’s cold, and people are outside, they need to be taken care of. However that can happen,” said Denbow.