- Associated Press - Monday, March 30, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - In a story March 28 about the demolition of a homeless camp, The Associated Press erroneously reported the name of Fort Worth’s code compliance director. His name is Brandon Bennett, not Brian Bennett.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Fort Worth demolishes homeless camp, scattering 80 people

Fort Worth demolishes homeless camp, scattering 80 adults and children to unknown destinations

By EMILY SCHMALL



FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - The city of Fort Worth has started breaking up a homeless camp, using heavy equipment to clear the area and force more than 80 adults and children to abandon most of their belongings.

Activists on Saturday took some individuals to assistance centers or hotels. Others at the site are expected to move to alternate hiding places outdoors near the camp and a cluster of homeless shelters “to buy them more time,” said Beth Bergeron of the homeless outreach group Rita’s Hope.

City code enforcement director Brandon Bennett says Fort Worth breaks up between 100 and 120 homeless camps each year.

“I’ve seen a young girl trade sex for money, I’ve seen animal cruelty, assault,” Bennett said, adding that the camps “don’t get people out of homelessness.”

Some of the homeless people had put together shacks while squatting on the swath of private property in a wooded area. Bits of carpet, industrial foam and pallets formed the floor of one camp. One dumpster overflowed with clothing. In the last year, Bennett said, the city has removed 68,000 pounds of trash from homeless campsites.

The homeless people were moved for code violations.

One man, David Miller, was demolishing his shack to scrap the metal where he had lived for about a year. The shack had glass windows and a soap dispenser mounted to the wall.

“It seemed like everything I did stopped me from leaving, and it just wasn’t time,” he said.

Ricky Burger, 27, said he had moved to the camp about two weeks ago after getting into an argument with a roommate. He said Rita’s Hope relocated him Saturday to another private property hidden from the road.

Bergeron said she is worried there isn’t enough room in Fort Worth’s permanent shelters to hold the campers. The city’s three privately run shelters are consistently at capacity.

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