SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 20, 2013

Homeless camp removed from hazardous waste site

(Continued)

Public health officials and police met with the group over the summer and urged them to move their campsite. The men packed up their tents and moved on after police intervened in late August, Mirandi said.

The police department’s mental health diversion specialist, Danielle Csogi, “was critical in trying to reach these guys,” Mirandi said.

“You just don’t tell them to get out; you offer them some options,” Miriandi said.

However, the group left behind some personal belongings like camp stoves and winter clothing.

Mirandi and police asked the state if they could “stand down” from having to retrieve the belongings, as they did not feel comfortable in continuing to enter the hazardous waste site.

An official for the state Department of Environmental Protection told Mirandi the state would handle the removal of the group’s belongings, as there was some concern the gear might be contaminated.

Joseph Ferson, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, said the DEP has asked Decoulos to move the belongings to somewhere secure.

Decoulos has a week to respond, Ferson said.

“If that’s not done, the department will conduct a removal, if necessary,” Ferson said.

Mirandi said he hoped the town handled the homeless group with some respect and consideration. One has been living outside for 15 winters, Mirandi said one of the men told him.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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