DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A metro Atlanta neighborhood says a homeless woman is squatting in an abandoned home in the area and is using the yard as her bathroom.
Residents in a south DeKalb neighborhood off Wesley Chapel Road said they’ve exhausted all of their efforts in helping the woman.
One resident, Shan Pattillo, said it’s not a good feeling.
“It’s hurtful because you really want to help her,” said Pattillo.
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The residents said she has been living on the doorstep of the abandoned home since the beginning of the year.
Channel 2′s investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln was in DeKalb County where she saw the woman on the doorstep and it was evident that she’d been there for some time.
Ashli Lincoln spoke with the woman and asked if she wanted help. The woman said “yes.”
The 41-year-old homeless woman told Channel 2 that she belongs to her elderly mother. When asked if she knew when her mother was coming back, the woman said “no.”
After more investigation, it was revealed that the home is owned by Betty Williams, whom neighbors say abandoned the home last year.
A spokesperson with the county said they’ve been dealing with the issue of homelessness on private property, but this case is complex because they are dealing with both an abandoned home and a homeless individual who is related to the homeowner.
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The county said this factor makes it more difficult to remove her.
The county sent Channel 2 a snapshot of the code enforcement division’s involvement with the home. They have been involved with the home since September and there is no power, no lights and no water.
By December, the county was notified about a person living outside the property.
The DeKalb County Community Development Department provided temporary housing to the woman but residents said that after funds ran out, she was brought back to the home.
More residents have expressed their concerns, saying they’re worried that she might bring more homeless people.
A metro Atlanta homeless organization said homelessness in suburban areas is on the rise, and removing a homeless person can be difficult if the person refuses help.
In the majority of these cases, the homeless person is living in an encampment, but in a case where a homeless person is on private property, they can often be removed.
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