Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert is telling homeless people that they have until Monday to move their tents by the Ocmulgee River.

Reichert says if they do not move them by Monday, the Bibb County Sheriff's Office will come down and remove them.

Ace Karge says he called a tent by Macon’s Ocmulgee River home for a while.

“Last year I was planning on retiring. This year I’m homeless,” said Karge.

But he says when he heard Reichert was making all homeless people by the river move, he had to leave his tent behind.

“When I ended up leaving, I have just now gotten another tent. But for a couple of nights there, I was sleeping outside,” said Karge.

With no form of shelter in December, Karge says the move nearly cost him his life.

“I almost froze to death one night because I slept outside. No sleeping bag. No tent,” said Karge.
Sister Theresa Sullivan, the director at Daybreak, says Karge is not alone.

“We're not solving the problem by doing this. We're just moving the problem,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan is one of several people Reichert asked to meet last week to discuss the homeless population camping out along the river.

She says she agrees that it is a problem, but she wishes the mayor would give people more time to find new spots.

“We have to find a way to keep our river beautiful and make sure everybody has a house,” said Sullivan.

Reichert says these tents are causing problems in parks along the river that he says needs to be addressed immediately.

“Children being apprehensive or afraid. Strangers coming up asking for food or money,” said Reichert.

Reichert says he is working with several organizations to help these people get help and find safe places to stay. He says he is passing out a list of resources to people along the river.

Karge says he wishes the mayor would not punish everyone.

“There are a few people there who are problems, but the rest of them aren't,” said Karge.

A count by a statewide advocacy group last January found more than 300 homeless people in Bibb County, including both people in shelters and what they called "unsheltered."

The same group found 49 homeless people in Houston County.