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Dirty needles, piles of garbage found outside eastside VFW after homeless camp set up nearby

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Dirty needles and piles of garbage are what members at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars are finding outside after a homeless camp set up shop. Members say this has been a constant problem and have been searching for answers.

Inside the doors of the VFW, the walls are marked with achievements and memories from Tucson veterans. But outside, it's marked with something different.

Dan Murray and Greg Baker are members of the VFW and call it a second home. Once a month, they spend hours cleaning up the trash that litters the ground and drug paraphernalia that makes it unsafe.

"If you look on the ground, you'll see needles," Murray said. "The last time I cleaned this area up, we filled six green bags up of garbage, human feces, and 35 needles."

The members say these items come from the homeless camp parked on the backside of their building. There used to be a wire fence, but that was cut. They say this is a safety issue.

"All it takes is one kid to come here and slip out without us knowing it," Baker said. "It a health hazard."

Murray and Baker said they have contacted the TPD Homeless Task Force about this five-year problem, but have not heard much back.

News 4 Tucson reached out to the task force and they told us they've surveyed the area.

Jennifer Hider, the Community Service Officer with the Parks Safety Team said this problem is common across Tucson. Hider said there are things businesses can do to curve this.

"Use tools to prevent it," Hider said. "Good lighting, motion centers, planting cactus, deter it by using tools to make it uncomfortable."

The task force will offer a list of resources to the homeless individuals.

Officials updated News 4 Tucson saying TPD did check back in the VFW and will work with them to solve this problem.

Austin Walker

Austin is a Reporter at KVOA News 4 Tucson. He graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in May of 2020.

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