Homeless community told to leave Greensboro property

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A group of homeless men and women in Greensboro have been asked to leave the place they've called home for years.

Jesse Franklin is one of those in the homeless population who belongs to a tent encampment in a wooded area near East Washington Street.

"I've been living there three and a half years," Franklin said. "We don't bother anybody. All we do is come and go."

But the reason the group has been asked to leave, according to Greensboro police, is because of one person's complaint.

Greensboro Police Public Information Officer Susan Danielsen said that three or four weeks ago, they got a complaint from a member of a church nearby. That caller said that members of the encampment were panhandling near his church and making the congregation uncomfortable.

Because of that complaint, GPD contacted the owner of the property. The property's owner then asked police to require the homeless population, now about six of them, to move.

Michelle Kennedy, executive director of the Interactive Resource Center, a nonprofit that assists the homeless, called this situation a tragedy.

"They literally have nowhere to go," Kennedy said. "This closure is particularly painful because it is hands down the safest and most secure location that anyone experiencing homelessness would want to be in."

Franklin denied claims that anyone in his tenting community had panhandled church members. He said he and the others stick to themselves and maintain a safe community.

"Nice and quiet," he said. "Peaceful, away from trouble. We look out for each other like one big, happy family."

Franklin said he and the others have not been given a timeline for when they will be forcefully removed from the property, but "no trespassing signs" went up Jan. 28, so they are now at risk of being ticketed.

FOX8 attempted to contact the owner of the property but never heard back.

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