BANGOR – For more than a month, two homeless people have lived on the front steps of a closed convenience store located next to Shaw’s on Main Street.
Bangor Police Department has received numerous calls about the small encampment, and they responded Thursday by asking the couple to move along.
“So what we’ve done here today and we’ve notified the people, or at least one of the people that have been staying here to remove their property,” Sgt. Wade Betters, spokesman for the Bangor Police Department.
When asked how long the couple have been staying at the store, David Spencer responded, “About a month, a month and a half.”
He explained, “My money didn’t arrive. So I’m waiting on my other money, so I can leave.”
Spencer added, the couple sleeps on the front steps of the store at night.
In fact, four people – the couple and two men – could be seen sleeping out in front of the store on Thursday morning.
“I know people have been camping out here all for quite a while, hanging out, not necessarily pitching a tent or anything,” Betters said. “This is one of the things that happen when homeless shelters are full and resources are used up.”
When asked if he considers himself homeless, Spencer said, “No.”
“I’m an indigent, but it’s by choice,” he said. “I’m not going to a shelter because I’m not following their rules all the time. I don’t want to be locked down every afternoon. And I just want to live my life.”
He said Wednesday that local police have not bothered him, and only have asked him to keep the area clean. On Thursday, he could still be seen at the store after police officers left the area.
“That’s why the Bangor Police Department, public health, a lot of outreach groups, the … team from CHCS and the city’s new homeless coordinator is out there doing this, for this very same reason — to try to pursue these folks and find out how we can get them into housing,” Betters said. “And if not, what are the reasons why. If those are reasons we can overcome, that’s something we’re going to try to do.”
The police sergeant added, “Ultimately, this is a private property issue where the landowner will need to get more involved in monitoring and policing their property.”
One councilor said the convenience store encampment is just a visible example of the larger homelessness problem within the city.