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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Fort Smith addresses homeless handouts and the impact on the environment throughout the city

As we see a rise in the number of homeless encampments here in Fort Smith, we are experiencing large amounts of trash and debris accumulating from the handouts that have been distributed.

Handouts, though given out with the best intentions are having a negative impact environmentally on our community.

The photo above is of an encampment here in Fort Smith and depicts the devastation left behind for an owner to clean up once vacated. Impacts associated with homeless handouts include but not limited to are excessive trash/debris, buckets of human waste, discarded needles, soiled clothing, rotting food, discarded soiled sleeping bags and tents.

The property owner is responsible by ordinance."

Sec. 16-4. Care of premises. It shall be unlawful for either the owner or occupant of a residential or nonresidential building, structure or property to utilize the premises of such property for the open storage of any abandoned or inoperable motor vehicle, household appliance or household furniture (regardless of working condition), tents, camping accessories, tires, tools, boxes, tubs, exercise equipment, inoperable lawn equipment, bathroom fixtures, mattresses, box springs, glass, building material, building rubbish or similar items. Additionally, it shall be the duty and responsibility of every such owner and occupant to keep the premises of such property clean and to remove from such premises all such items as listed above, including, but not limited to, weeds, dead trees, tree limbs, trash and garbage upon written notice from a building official.

How can I help the homeless in my community?

Please consider a donation for Hand-Up instead of a handout.

By texting from your smartphone or device, "Fort" to 91999 you will be directed and have the opportunity to make a donation for our local nonprofit organizations. By donating to "change HELPS" you will be providing the much-needed financial support and aid for the homeless here in Fort Smith.

This aid comes in the form of mental and health care assistance, drug and alcohol addiction and the hope of locating adequate shelter for those displaced. We want to mention that 100% of your donation goes directly to local nonprofits that serve the homeless.

To report a homeless encampment please contact (479)784-1031 or click here to email.

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