Child, mother provided housing following homeless camp dismantlement

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) - It's not an uncommon occurrence.  The City of Charleston, along with Charleston Police are sending a message- makeshift homeless encampments aren't safe.  It's too cold and too dangerous to be out in the elements. 

This month alone, officers have closed four camps.

In this case, the camp was located along Shrewsbury Street, between tow homeless shelters. 

The people living here were given five days notice that they had to go.  City workers said it was run rampant with bed bugs.  There were needles everywhere. 

As always though, and thanks to city ordinance- residents of the homeless camp weren't left high and dry.  Outreach workers have been on hand doling out resources and finding those living here other places to go- somewhere warm and somewhere out of the elements.

We began the day following police as they initiate the dismantlement.  Things changed, quickly, however, when we looked over and saw a seven year old boy.

A child with no place to call home, was standing with his parents in the freezing cold.  We saw it and we reached out to police so they could step in.

And they did.  

Lt. Paul Perdue with the Charleston Police Department said,  "We got CPS involved and other entities involved so that we can ensure that this child is housed from here on out."

The family left the area of the camp, but officers were able to catch up with them at Manna Meal a few blocks away.  While inside, Child Protective Services and other agencies stepped in to help.

"When you look at a child, you see how defenseless they are and how much they depend on people," Perdue said.  "It's one of those things that really gets to your heart and you want to make sure they're taken care of.  It's bothersome to see.  It's one of those things that we want to rectify as son as we can."

Charleston Police have a saying that is near and dear to their hearts- if you see something, say something.  As human beings, we all have a responsibility to speak out when something doesn't seem right.  

And moving forward, the child we saw today will have roof over his head. 

For more resources regarding the homeless epidemic in our region, reach out to Charleston Police Department Community Services, or check out the Community Resource Guide attached below from the Charleston Police Department.


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