"We have homes. They're right here": People forced to leave Chattanooga homeless camp

The city of Chattanooga told people living at the camp site on East 11th and Baldwin Street that they had to vacate Thursday. (Image: WTVC)

The time is up for one Chattanooga homeless camp.

The city told people living at the camp site on East 11th and Baldwin Street that they had to vacate Thursday.

Marty Matthews says he's made this site in Chattanooga his home for the last six months.

"We've all pretty much became family. They've welcomed me with open arms," says Matthews.

Matthews says that to society, he's homeless, but he disagrees. "We have homes. They're right here."

And now, the city says he and his family are being forced to pack up and move by the owners of the property - Norfolk Southern and the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Makesha Parker with Nineveh Homeless Outreach, says she attempted to lease out part of the property owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad, but says she was denied.

"Whenever I told them what I was going to leasing it for, once I mentioned homeless people, they automatically assumed it was associated with drugs and they told me they would not lease me the property," says Parker.

She says if the people who live there now don't move out, then they will lose their belongings.

"They're already homeless, so everything they have is very valuable and important to them," said Parker.

The Times Free Press issued the following statement Thursday:

"The city regularly cites the Times Free Press for littering on our properties. The littering is the result of homeless people camping there. Two years ago, we spent three days cleaning out the area, but the homeless people have since returned. A few weeks ago, we requested the police department enforce our "no trespassing" signs."

We also reached out to Norfolk Southern via email. This was their response:

"A trespassing concern near Baldwin Street in Chattanooga was recently brought to our attention by local businesses who own property adjacent to Norfolk Southern. Safety is a priority for Norfolk Southern, therefore we have reached out to the Chattanooga Police Department to determine the best way to handle this trespassing issue. At this time we have taken no action nor commented on what action would be appropriate to handle this issue."

Depend on us to keep you posted on this developing story.

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