- Associated Press - Monday, February 13, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A longtime homeless camp in downtown Indianapolis could be in the midst of its final winter.

Residents of the outdoor community known as “The Jungle” say law enforcement officials told them last week they’d have to leave by the end of March, the Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/2lBqFGw ) reported.

But other residents at the camp, which is located near a rail line, say another group of officials told them to evacuate within a week because a company that owns the property is calling for the area to be cleared.

A statement from the company, CSX Transportation, confirms the camp’s end is drawing near, but those living in the camp haven’t been given a relocation deadline.

CSX officials say safety is the top priority, and that they’re working with organizations to make sure those displaced aren’t left without options.

“CSX has been actively working with the city, area churches and social service agencies to assist in transitioning individuals who have been occupying CSX property near an active rail line to safer living situations,” the statement said. “Any activity near an active rail line is dangerous, and CSX is committed to working with appropriate agencies to resolve the public health and safety challenges created by the current situation.”

One of the camp’s residents, Joe Mefford, said he is unsure exactly how long the site has been up and running, but it is thought to be the one of the largest homeless camps in the city with a population around 25 or 30.

“These people have been here for so long. … now they gotta move their whole life,” Mefford said. “It’s a tough situation.”


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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