Cleveland resident voices concern over growing homeless community

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 12:33 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - If you drive near the intersection of East 19th Street and Payne Avenue, you will see several homeless tents lined up down the block.

“We have a mental health problem, and we have a homeless problem in this country,” said Cleveland resident Paul Siemborski

“There is a homeless shelter down the street so I’m curious as to why they have the tents out,” said one nearby worker.

19 News talked to Jules Thomas, one of the homeless people camping out on E 19th Street.

Thomas said he’s been living off and on that exact street since 1997. He said he would rather live on the streets than in a homeless shelter.

“It’s public, nobody is on it but the city. A pedestrian cannot just tell you have to leave,” said Thomas.

19 News reached out to both Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and Cleveland Ward 5 Councilman Richard Starr to find out what can be done about this makeshift homeless camp.

We did not hear back from the mayor’s office; however, a representative with Starr’s office told 19 News they are working to find if the tents are even legally allowed to be be there.