Agencies point fingers after homeless ordered to leave along Durham freeway

A tent at the site where the homeless have been told to leave. Photo by Derrick Lewis/CBS North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Saturday is the deadline for homeless people living along a freeway near West Chapel Hill Street in Durham to get out.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation put up no trespassing signs, but the people living there said they have nowhere else to go.

All they know is they have to be out by Saturday.

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Preparing for the worst, some people living in tents at the area have already moved in fear of being forced out. They wish they could just be left alone.

“Why? Why was it so important? Why was there a deadline? Why?” one person living at the camp asked.

She has found a place to stay for the moment with her daughter. She says this situation is a nightmare.

She doesn’t know what’s next.

“I’m not getting any help from anybody,” she said.

She said there has been no help since seeing a sign near the campsite that says, “State-owned property. No trespassing.”

Several people living there say when the signs were put up, an official told them they have until Feb. 10 to leave.

As far as which agency is responsible for the sweep, there seems to be some confusion.

CBS North Carolina called the N.C. Department of Transportation.

“The DOT placed the signs up in early January and that was the end of our role in this situation, as we do not have the legal rights to enforce the signs, we do not evict people from property,” said Steve Abbott with the N.C. Department of Transportation. “That is up to law enforcement.”

CBS North Carolina reached out to Durham police.

In a statement, police said, “NC DOT is leading the efforts with the homeless camp. DPD will not be involved with any Feb. 10 camp removal/enforcement.”

While their tents are still here, some homeless are packing up their things and leaving, with nowhere to go.

City officials say they’re not looking to push people out. Instead, they were going to help them find somewhere else to stay.

But people living there say that’s not happening.

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