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Increasing homeless population at I-70, Sterling Avenue causes concern for neighbors, businesses

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 20:30:19-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A homeless population living under I-70 at Sterling Avenue is causing many people and businesses in the area to be on alert.

Their main concerns are the trash being left behind and security.

It’s not the look Brother’s Fish and Pet store owner Ken Heath wants right outside his store.

“Over the years, it's gradually gotten worse,” said Heath.

He said the problem is particularly bad this year as they won’t seem to go away as MoDOT forces them out.

“That was a tent city, and MoDOT came in and cleaned all of that out and it was great, but within two weeks they were over the underpass,” said Heath.

The homeless people’s attitudes are becoming more violent according to Heath, as he claims one of them tried to break in his store through a window, “Picked up the rock and threw it and just turned around and casually walked off.”

Some of the people who are homeless make their way into surrounding neighborhoods according to Anthony Guthrie. 

“They walk along, they kind of give a look and I'm just wondering if they are checking, they are scoping my house out if they can walk by and steal later in the evening,” Guthrie said. 

Someone stole some change lying in his mother-in-law’s car.

“You open the door, and the first thing you know is the change is missing and all her stuff in the glove box is all put on the seats,” said Guthrie.

Since then he locks his cars, now feeling unsafe in his own neighborhood. 

“I just don't like the idea of them invading my privacy and I feel violated," Guthrie said. 

MoDOT is aware of this problem and comes out when they can to clean it up, even if it’s not as often as many people want them to be there.

KCPD said the challenge with this property is half is in Independence and the other half in Kansas City. If they show up, they walk over to Independence. If IPD shows up, they walk over to KC. 

KCPD said attempts have been made to work with the property developer historically, but nothing is currently underway at this time.