Bill Smith freeportland@hotmail.com
Mon, 16 Dec 2002 07:36:01 -0800

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<DIV><PRE>Key West to document homeless population - Keysnews.com
The city's identification and documentation of the homeless population was
temporarily rained out last week when all-day storms kept city camera crews
from filming the areas most frequently occupied by homeless people.
The project is aimed to point out the problems with the population who are
now known as "chronic public nuisances," -- the unemployed homeless
population that have come under scrutiny in recent months for aggressive
John Jones, assistant city manager, is spearheading the project, and will
eventually present his findings to the city commission and to the public.
Once the problem is identified and known, then solutions can be developed,
he said.
The videotaping has been rescheduled for Friday, when city workers will
document the homeless encampments, some of which are located on protected
wetlands areas, which means that any sort of trespassing or pollution is
"In the meantime, I've been out taking pictures and we've pretty much
located the main camps," Jones said.
Video crews will be focusing on the major encampments of CPNs, who have
gathered in three different encampments on the Berg property, along Atlantic
Boulevard. There are also two large camps behind the Bridle Path across from
Smathers Beach, under Cow Key Bridge and in the wetlands area adjacent to
building that houses the St. Mary's Soup Kitchen on Flagler Avenue.
Jones emphasized that it is not illegal to be homeless, so enforcement of
laws is complex. But it is illegal to trespass on posted property, block
access to businesses or sidewalks, or pollute protected environmental areas.
Also, open containers of alcohol are also illegal, according to city
"It's now a felony to pollute wetlands," Jones said, planning to suggest a
new city ordinance that will reinforce that law, which gives police officers
the authority to arrest CPNs living in areas with no sewers.
After the documentation, Jones will also explore the possibility of opening
a shelter for homeless or forming a partnership with shelters in Miami or
other areas on the mainland.

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This story published on Sun, Dec 15, 2002
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