In the summer months, the homeless can be found in city parks because during this time in El Dorado, there’s no where for them to go. Police say they’re receiving calls about it.
Gayle Bentley has lived in town for years and says homelessness has been a problem for sometime.
“I’ve seen it down where by where I live, and people are having a hard time being able to live and eat,” said Gayle Bentley, El Dorado.
Others in the city are also starting to take notice.
In May, police responded to a call about the homeless at the city park.
“When we came down here, there were two or three tents,” said Det. Lt. Maggie Schreiber, El Dorado Police Department.
Schreiber says four to five people were staying under the bridge when the park was closed. She says police got rid of rotten food and waste in the area and told the people camping there they had to move.
She says officers try and connect them to resources, but some choose to stay outside.
“We have referred people to DCF, to the Butler Homeless Initiative, we’ve referred people to South Central Mental Health,” said Schreiber.
But the homeless shelter is only open from November until April. Last winter, the Butler Homeless Initiative took in 74 men, women, and children.
But they say it takes money and volunteers to keep it going, and helping the homeless has to be a community effort.
“Kicking someone out of a park isn’t going to solve the homeless problem, we need support there for them so they can better themselves,” said Schreiber.
“People have to care enough to help out, you see these people and it just hurts your heart,” said Bentley.
The shelter says they’re very grateful for the community’s support but one day, would like to be open to the homeless year-round.