- Patrick Sweeney
As soon as Boise Weekly first reported about a growing encampment of homeless men and women filling Cooper Court only feet away from the Interfaith Sanctuary shelter where there have been available beds, other media quickly followed suit with their own reports.
But a number of those other media reports have included remarks that a deadline had been given to the Cooper Court "residents" that they would need to clear out by Thursday, Oct. 1. Ever since, that date has been repeated, but City of Boise officials tell BW that it was only a rumor, and there was no validity to the deadline. City officials nevertheless said they're regularly meeting with stakeholders to develop a strategy for the unique dilemma.
In August, Interfaith Sanctuary officials told BW that the encampment was a sad irony, considering the fact that beds were available inside the shelter.
"Yes, there are open fires out there," Interfaith Executive Director Jayne Sorrels told BW in August "We see children out here during the day. We've told the adults, 'Please don't do this.' They're setting themselves up to be more vulnerable to child protection calls. It's just not safe."
Additionally, the shelter has been forced to divert its mail delivery to a P.O. box, since the U.S. Postal Service has since stopped delivering mail to the building due to the fact that delivery vehicles can't navigate the numerous tents and shelters that have filled Cooper Court.
"People coming into Interfaith have told us that they don't feel safe walking through that gauntlet," said Sorrels. "And they know that while they're struggling to stay clean and sober, at any moment they would walk out the door and get any drug and drink whatever they want."
Meanwhile, in Spokane, Wash., KREM-TV reports that officials in that city spent the better part of Tuesday "cleaning up" five different transient camps that had become "a big problem." Spokane code enforcement "forced the people to move out," according to KREM-TV, but "they left behind tons of garage."
"Well, it's just a mess, it's sad people can't pick up after themselves," Spokane neighbor Frank Bartoletta told KREM-TV. "They just think they can throw their garbage and have the city or whoever come in and clean it up. It's horrible."
Spokane officials added that the cost of clean-up included staff time, disposal costs and traffic control, totaling thousands of dollars.