Breaking News
More () »

Groups discuss solutions for homelessness in Arkansas

After ARDOT announced the removal of homeless camps in Central Arkansas, local groups are discussing the limited solutions.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — It's something we heard many times after posting the initial story earlier this week... removing the camps does not remove the problem of homelessness.

Right now, the problem is growing with not enough space at local shelters.

"This is an issue that has been building year after year and is now coming to a head with moving these folks out," said Major Bill Mockabee of the Salvation Army's Commander of Central Arkansas.

On Monday, the Arkansas Department of Transportation started removing homeless camps around the interstates in Little Rock and North Little Rock.

Dave Parker, spokesperson for ARDOT said it was for safety concerns, and they provided them with options for places to stay.

“We are in charge of cleaning up these areas, maintaining the right of ways thus they have to move," Parker said. "We are not physically moving anyone."

"We have to go in at certain times of the year, clean up the trash, mow the grass, and we don't want any kind of accident to happen," he added.  

But leaders of local shelters say it's not that simple and there are no good immediate solutions.

In Little Rock, there are about a thousand homeless people in the city.

There are nowhere near that many shelter beds, according to Aaron Reddin with The Van.

The Salvation Army has just 21 beds available. They hope to add at least 10 more soon when they hire more staff.

While the short-term solutions are limited they are working on a long-term plan of building a new shelter that will house between 150-200 beds.

Pastor William Holloway with The Compassion Center says affordable housing is part of the reason there is a lot of homelessness.

"Let's say they're making $11-$12 an hour," Holloway said. "They really don't make enough money to rent an $800 or $1,000 dollar-a-month apartment."

So, he's working on a tiny home development with low rent. The rental would be 8x10 or 8x8 where one or two people can stay.

The City of Little Rock is also looking at putting money towards solutions for homelessness, including land development for housing and renewing a contract for Jericho Way Homeless Day Resource Center.

Before You Leave, Check This Out