Myrtle Beach Deals With Homeless, Or Do They?
It appalls me to think that humanity and human services, including healthcare, must be debated! Where are the solutions?
By Steve Porter
Myrtle Beach leaders don’t know how to deal with the city’s growing homeless problem.
A discussion on homelessness during Tuesday’s council meeting accompanied a motion for council approval of an agreement with Horry County on providing police protection “for the purpose of nuisance abatement.”
City Manager Tom Leath defined that as working out a deal that would allow city and county police to advice homeless individuals who are camping out on private property that they are doing so illegally and would be subject to arrest.
The reason is that while many of the homeless have been moving their “camps” — places where they sleep at night — from inside the city limits onto county property a short distance away, they are still a nuisance to the city and the owners of the property.
The city is hoping that county cooperation will bring further pressure on them to find someplace else to camp out, but council member Susan Grissom Means said there really doesn’t seem to be any kind of permanent solution to the problem, which keeps growing.
Leath said increased cooperation between city and county police might result in at least a slowdown in influx of the homeless.
“They might decide they would want to go somewhere and live peacefully rather than have the police on them all the time,” he said.
Where else was the question.
At the council workshop on the subject Tuesday morning, one council member suggested a camp might be set up for the homeless out in Marion County.
But others who are familiar with the habits of the homeless said no one would take advantage of such a place so far from an urban environment that provides sustenance for many of the homeless.
Many get odd jobs, beg from the public and make use of such facilities as the Community Kitchen and Street Reach Mission, not to mention being able to get meals from the many churches and other organizations that literally go out and feed the homeless on the streets.
The area north of Grissom Parkway and east of U.S. 501 is considered to be one of the homeless camp areas.
Fire trucks are often seen in the area because the homeless start campfires that often ignite small brush fires in the area.
The area to the south, along the railroad tracks leading back toward the downtown area, has long been a camping location for the city’s homeless.
Pieces of metal, cardboard and other debris are often used to build ramshackle shelters in that area, which some of the homeless call “Paradise City.”
Both the council workshop session and the regular council meeting wound up being shirtsleeves meetings.
Most council members had shed their jackets at the workshop, put them back on for the meeting and as the meeting progressed, began shedding them again until everyone was in shirtsleeves by the end of the proceedings.