Homeless Camp

This is the kind of story that begs for a follow-up…which meant that I was headed back into the woods…

The homeless camp that the WPD discovered off Carolina Beach road isn’t exactly easy to find. You have to know exactly what you’re looking for.

Lynda Figueredo first covered the story. She came back half eaten alive by mosquitoes and with a welt from a large spider bite.

Yours truly covered both follow-ups and of course they happened to occur on the days that I chosen to wear heels and a skirt…

My first trek into the woods was with Larry Ventura who you again saw on last night’s report. Larry contacted WECT weeks ago when the story broke and said that he wanted to help owner Sharon Efrid put her property back together. He said that he “helped people who tried to help themselves.”

Larry is a long shoreman from California who says his personal equipment list includes tractors and large construction trucks. He’s experienced in heavy-duty work but as we made our way through the property…he was surprised to see just what he had signed himself up for.

Once you clear the initial brush, you enter into what looks like a little colony. There are clearly staked “plots” of land, each with its own tent set-up. Every area has a hanging teddy bear posted out front which I can only imagine is some sort of territory marker. They’re actually pretty creepy.

There’s trash everywhere and large piles of beer cans. Oddly, many of the campsites had electronics that were either just stolen goods…or an attempt at making things look more “homey.” What good is a t.v. set and an sewing machine going to do you out in the woods without any electricity?? Otherwise there was much of what you might expect: mattresses, plates, old couches and even a designated washing (and wasting) area downstream.

There was no one on-site the two times I visited…except for the ENORMOUS spiders that live there. An important note: I have severe arachnophobia.

The first time Larry and I went, he said he could have the entire place cleared by the August 10th deadline under one condition…he wanted $4,000 from anyone to give to the homeless people who would be displaced by the demolition. I reminded him that the people who had set-up camp there were trespassing. He agreed that they were in the wrong but said that homeless ‘issue’ would never get better if they just keep getting displaced.

That story aired but I never heard from Sharon as to whether or not she wanted to accept his help. Larry was persistent so I contacted Sharon a few weeks later and she said she would agree to meet him at the site.

That was what you saw in yesterday’s report.

More details came out when we talked with Larry yesterday which made the agreement a hard sell for Sharon. He said that he would still need the $4,000 but it would now be to cover his crew and equipment. That price is what you might expect from a private hauler and its one that Sharon can simply not afford.

Sharon said she felt that the people who caused this mess should be the ones to clean it up. Apparently some of them were taken to jail. She says they should have been taken right back to the property and told to get to work.

She was less than thrilled to hear that Larry’s crew was made up of homeless men. Larry says that those men are part of a ‘program’ where they “sign out” to come work with him. He did not elaborate on this arrangement. As you can imagine, Sharon is not feeling very agreeable towards the homeless and is currently in no mood to offer them daily pay. She’s concerned she’ll pay them once and never see them again.

There is just one week until her deadline. Sharon knows she can’t be too picky but it seemed that Larry’s price and crew just wasn’t what she wanted.

As you saw, they ended with a handshake but no final deals. She told me that until the surveyors confirm exactly what is and is NOT her property she’s not moving a thing (otherwise she may be paying to clear out someone ELSE’S land).

I spoke with them both today. Larry wanted to head over this morning and get to work but when I talked to Sharon she expressed her gratitude towards him, but said the price was just too high.

I’ll be in touch with her and you’ll likely see an update on the deadline, August 10th.








1 Comment

  1. I enjoyed coming upon this story. It\’s definitely one I wish to come back to

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