‘We cannot allow this’: Councilman targets homeless camp near Allgood Road
by Hilary Butschek
July 29, 2014 04:00 AM | 6329 views | 16 16 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta Councilman Anthony Coleman points out a camp — complete with a makeshift bed and tarp roof — in the woods of a vacant property off of Allgood Road he says is being used by homeless people in the area Saturday. The area was surrounded with trash, empty liquor bottles and clothing. <br> Hilary Butschek
Marietta Councilman Anthony Coleman points out a camp — complete with a makeshift bed and tarp roof — in the woods of a vacant property off of Allgood Road he says is being used by homeless people in the area Saturday. The area was surrounded with trash, empty liquor bottles and clothing.
Hilary Butschek
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MARIETTA — Councilman Anthony Coleman set out to rid his district of vagrants Saturday afternoon.

Coleman called police and the media to the scene of a homeless camp off Allgood Road near the roundabout at the intersection Fairground Street.

“We cannot allow this in our city,” Coleman said.

Coleman told Marietta Police Officer Brittany Daniel about a vacant property that has been for sale for years off Allgood Road, Coleman said. Coleman said he found the camp after he stopped by the Quik Mart at 619 Allgood Road for a soda the day before.

“I saw a young lady going down there with a big old bottle of beer, so I went down there,” Coleman said.

He didn’t find any people in the woods, but he did discover trash and clothing — evidence of homeless people, he said.

Saturday afternoon, the woods were empty, but the area was covered with discarded liquor bottles, trash, scattered clothing and tarps hung from the trees for shelter. In the center of the cleared area was a bed frame set up with a mattress and blankets.

“You would never know something like this was happening, just driving by,” Coleman said.

Officer Daniel said what Coleman found is not unusual near downtown Marietta. Police see many homeless people on properties along Old 41 Highway.

“On 41, that’s where we get most of the calls from,” Daniel said.

About 99 percent of the restaurants, gas stations and housing properties off Old 41 Highway have worked with police to get loiterers off their property, Daniel said. Businesses can sign a trespass agreement with the police to ask vagrants to leave.

“We need them to sign a trespass agreement before we can make anyone leave the property,” Daniel said.

If the business doesn’t sign the agreement, police can’t do anything, Daniel said.

The gas station on Allgood Road, which is owned by Mahemood Budhhani, and the vacant lot next to it, which is owned by Vasa Jasti, a representative of Berkshire Hathaway, do not have agreements with the police, said Sgt. Grant Foster. Both owners did not return requests for comment.

Daniel said the homeless population that formerly frequented Old 41 Highway is now moving toward the city because the agreements those businesses signed put police on active patrol along the road.

The city has spent money on new sidewalks and the roundabout, Coleman said, and he didn’t like seeing the area cluttered with a nearby homeless campsite. He said he will be keeping police on alert about the issue.

“We need to make (police) aware that we’ve got a problem out here,” Coleman said.

Coleman said he wants to help the people who might be living there.

“Nobody’s trying to push them out,” Coleman said. “We’re trying to help them.”

He suggested getting businesses and churches in the area together to come up with a solution to help the homeless population.

“(The homeless) aren’t bad people, but they’ve got to be able to help themselves too,” Coleman said.

MUST Ministries provides hot meals, clothing and emergency shelter to those who need it in Cobb and Cherokee counties.

Its service center off Cobb Parkway near Old 41 offers employment assistance as well as food and clothing services.

Cobb residents who wish to help may donate money, supplies or volunteer hours. To become involved, email volunteer@mustministries.org.

Comments
(16)
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Judys4
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August 08, 2014
Would those of you criticizing the removal of these homeless camps welcome them into your backyard?
WWA
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August 06, 2014
Perhaps they could spread those homeless people out to all the new vacant lots the city intends to create by tearing down buildings with boarded up windows and doors? No more camps, and create diverse neighborhoods. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic.)
anonymous
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July 30, 2014
This is nothing new. Back in the late 90’s a group of neighbors from the surrounding neighborhoods got together to clean out and remove the underbrush that surrounds the lot between Allgood, Fairground, and Chicopee Dr. This even made the 6:00 news as showing what ‘community involvement’ could do to rid itself of a growing drug problem. Fast forward to today and the lot in question has grown back to where you can’t see into it, so no surprise there. The owner of the property doesn’t seem to care one way or the other and any long term plans for it to be cleared and used for something else seems nil as a creek runs through the middle of the lot. After walking up to MUST Ministries and getting their breakfast, its back to vacant lot to ‘chill out’ till time for lunch then dinner. And now that’s being made easier by the new sidewalks being installed along 41 (Cobb Parkway). I guess next we will be providing bus service from MUST to the lot in question.
John B
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July 29, 2014
These comments are certainly a sad reflection of the people of Cobb County. Once upon a time we had a Homeless daughter. My prayer is that she was treated with respect not with the vengeance you folks are casting on our Homeless
anonymous
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July 29, 2014
Could we get just a little bit of the money being spent on people coming into our country illegally on our own fellow citizens?
anonymous
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July 29, 2014
People, please get off your high horses. The people living in the woods are ones that don't want to be helped. They would not accepted at MUST. Everyone has to take a breath test for admission to MUST every single night. These people want to drink and they don't want to stop drinking. Therefore, they have nowhere to go, unless you prima donnas want to invite these drunks to your house to stay.
Connie Mack Jr
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July 29, 2014
Sounds like the Counsel idiot would waterboard the first poor soul in the name of the Republican Jesus
Reality Check
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July 29, 2014
@KathyC - Give me a break no rational person can possibly think the woods behind where families live is the place for people that you agree require "much needed Mental Health care". Coleman is serving his ward and drawing attention to an issue of safety in the neighborhood, which is what elected officials are supposed to do. Have you moved anyone from MUST in with you and your family? The reality is until they have already gotten the help they need to no longer be a threat to society they need to be away from where children get off the school bus. They are literally getting drunk and using drugs around apartment complexes where a bunch of kids play outside and single women have to walk with their kids to catch the city bus or walk to family dollar for groceries. They also leave a lot of trash on private property, who should have to pay to have that cleaned up? It also isn't pleasant having my wife approached every time she goes to the gas station (even the Quicktrip after dark) by people(often clearly intoxicated by an array of chemicals) aggressively begging for money. I fully support the idea of MUST and groups that want to help the homeless, but that doesn't mean the local community gets to house the people in vacant lots after they can no longer provide what these people want.
Betsyville
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July 29, 2014
Councilman Coleman I invite you to learn more about what our community is doing to help those struggling with homelessness in our area. How sad that you seem to know so little about what is currently being done and how amazing the churches and businesses in this community are and how strongly they support and are agents of meaningful change for those who are in this situation. Please make a call, take a tour and get involved in MUST or any organization that helps those in need!

Kathy C
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July 29, 2014
What a derogratory article! For his sake I hope Mr.Coleman never has to walk in the shoes of the Homeless. Coleman states he wants to help the Homeless--Can he help them find jobs? Can he provide affordable housing? Can he help them get the much needed Medical and Mental Health care they so desparately Need? I would challenge Mr. Coleman to spend some time at MUST seeing what situations the least of our Brothers are in.Judge not least you be judged
Rick Z
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July 29, 2014
And Coleman himself says, “You would never know something like this was happening, just driving by.” So apparently they weren't creating a visible nuisance.

That One Guy
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July 29, 2014
It's not his fault that they are homeless, so don't act like he owes anyone anything. You may interpret his offer of help as lip service, but I am going to guess you have not talked with him to find out more in depth what he is thinking.

The article was not derogatory at all, it was simply pointing out the issue.

I guess that big old bottle of beer shoul dhelp with finding a job, right?

Have to go
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July 29, 2014
I was on a murder trial for a homeless man off Cobb Parkway. They don't clean up after themselves, get drunk and fight, and loiter in the area bringing the neighborhoods down. It is unsafe for people because they are impulsive. They have the money to ride the bus from camp to camp, drink all day and smoke. They need to spend their money on a place to stay and get a job. Most just choose not to work. I agree that the camp needs to go. It should not be up tot he business and there should be an ordinance not permitting tarps and trash.
anonymous
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July 30, 2014
Kathy C. The people in this article would not be allowed to stay at MUST overnight because they would fail the breathilizer test, which all potential overnight residents at MUST are required to take and they would get turned away if they blew more than a 0. The least of our Brothers that want to be helped need to check into the numerous, free rehab programs our taxes pay for. There are plenty. Anyone that wants help can get help. Instead, they choose a life of crime, poverty, and homelessness. Not all--I am not saying that--but the ones that are walking around with beer bottles got their money to buy the beer from where? Did you think about that one? Prostitution? Robbery?
anonymous
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July 30, 2014
Rick: Wha????? That guy that breaks into my house doesn't create a visible nuisance either. Duh. They kinda know how to not be visible.
eAdisio
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July 29, 2014
Thus, with a little press, efforts to help the homeless in Marietta is little more than lip service.
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