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Massive homeless camp near Utah State Capitol undergoes clean up

Jon Tyson

On Wednesday, a massive clean up process started removing tons of trash, debris, and hazardous waste from a homeless camp near the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City.

According to the health department, the site has been cleaned up eight times over the last 11 years but now, conditions have gotten pretty bad.

Nicholas Rupp, Salt Lake County Health Department’s spokesperson, says that this kind of work isn’t anybody’s favorite, but everybody recognizes that it needs to be done to protect the environment for all Salt Lake County residents. Given no other choice, the county has to go in to remove the trash and self-built structures before the waste starts to affect the natural environment.

For those calling the area their home, the clean up process has been frustrating. Sidnee Collingwood, who had been staying at the site, says that it’s stressful bouncing around constantly and that it sucks not knowing where you’re gonna go.

Collingwood is just one of many who had to pick up camp and move in favor of the clean up. Health officials have spent several weeks preparing people for the clean up process, even offering help to those affected by it, but many won’t accept the help being offered. According to Rupp, many of the people living at the site choose to live outdoors and are choosing to live outside of a normal social system.

Clean up crews are expected to work throughout the rest of the week but with each load they remove, it’s not the solution to the bigger issue of homelessness across the nation.

Jared Gereau is pursuing a Journalism major with an emphasis in Social Media at Utah State University. He is planning on using his experience to pursue a career with USU Athletics sometime after he graduates. In his free time, Jared enjoys watching movies, playing games and creating content for his YouTube channel.