Downtown Macon is not far from the Ocmulgee River and many may relocate to that area.
13WMAZ’s Mary Grace Shaw spoke to a lot of people who say they have not noticed a big change in the amount of homeless people downtown since the mayor made the decision to remove them from the river, but most people say that probably will not be the case for too much longer, especially after what happened Monday morning.
At Macon’s Spud Dogs, Scott Long says it is not uncommon to look outside and see a homeless person.
“We have a lot of that. I wish we could address it in a better way, but I address it in my own way,” says Long.
Long says he lets people come in off the streets and use his bathroom and get cups of water.
“But my deal with them is if you ask for money outside of my restaurant, you lose that privilege,” says Long.
But he says he knows it is what comes with owning a business downtown.
“It's all a part of the reality of what goes on,” says Long.
He says he is not really concerned if homeless people come downtown after being forced to leave the Ocmulgee River. He says homeless people are going to be there regardless.
“So I don’t know what effect it’ll have on downtown anymore other than people coming in wandering the streets anyways,” says Long.
But Rachell Hart says she thinks there will be a noticeable difference.
“I’m sure after this order, we're going to be fluctuated with them,” says Hart.
She says she is not worried about them causing any issues. She says she is more concerned about making sure they are OK.
“They’re already homeless. Where are they going to go? There's already not enough resources for them now,” says Hart.
Mayor Robert Reichert says a group that he is in is working to change that.
“There are multiple reasons for homelessness. It’s not a 'one-size-fits-all' category, so trying to find a solution is going to be difficult,” says Reichert.
Reichert says the group is going to meet in January and try to create places for these people to stay, a plan Long says could actually help these people in the long run.
“It might not be bad thing for people to be forced to move a little bit and rethink where they are because there are opportunities for people to get help,” says Long.
Reichert says he met with the Salvation Army Monday to discuss creating places for the homeless to stay. He says the plan could include building tiny houses for the homeless.
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