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Family calls for action after homeless camp, illegal dumping raises safety concerns

Illegal dumping in KCMO
Posted at 6:37 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 19:40:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — David Clay and his family living in Northeast Kansas City, Missouri, say they are fed up with a homeless camp that has brought unwanted interactions and trash to their community.

“It’s been going on for like a year now or so, because first it started off with fires, like I guess their forest caught on fire and then recently it started going to shootings, constant disruptions,” said David Clay, a resident who lives near a homeless camp.

Clay says his frustrations with the homeless camp next door, are piling up.

“It can go from 10 at night from parties, from then all the way up until like 3 in the morning,” Clay said.

Clay says he is met with trash, unruly comments, and violence from occupants of the lot while simply doing tasks like taking out his garbage.

“The lady saw us and she wanted to blurt out vulgar and racial slurs towards my brother and I, and parents heard that, and once they heard it they wanted to talk back and forth or whatever, Clay said. "Within that same sentence of her saying slurs and explaining why she called us those things, she wanted to tell one of her friends to get a gun."

Clay, the oldest of 12, says he is concerned for his safety and the safety of his parents and siblings, upset that this continues to occur right outside his door.

“They can look over from the forest and see my siblings and the things that they be doing just doesn’t make me feel right," he said. "I’ll look at them, check and make sure they are okay because they always be in the backyard playing, doing things kids would do, but that fact that that’s getting messed up by some adult's stupidity, that’s not okay,” Clay said.

Over the last year, Clay says he has exhausted all of his options and does not know what else to do.

KSHB 41 News decided to ask the city some questions about the vacant lot on East 10th Street.

Kansas City, Missouri, Media Relations Manager Maggie Green tells us illegal dumping and homelessness is a major priority for the city.

“We want to make sure we have care, and respectably to our houseless residents, so that they are connected with resources that they need, but also address the issues of the trash and the litter clean up,” Green said.

However, Green says the lot on East 10th Street is privately owned, bringing on a different set of challenges to clean up.

“This is not city property where we can just go pick up the litter and the trash and move on. We have to go through our neighborhood codes process, and that’s something that we have done in the past with this particular property, with the owner, sent out a notice to pick up the property so that is underway as well,” Green said.

She says when issues like this arise, the property owner has a set amount of time to find a solution once a warning has been given.

“We have to go through our own process through the codes enforcement process to give them a warning, a citation, and then they have a certain amount of days to address that issue,” she said.

With summer right around the corner, Clay says he just wants the issue resolved for the safety of his younger siblings.

“I just hope that whatever gets done, gets done soon because you know, summer is getting ready to come, and my siblings are going to want to stay outside more and more often, and I can just sit there, I’m afraid something might happen,” he said.