Neighbors Facing Fine After Homeless Set Up Camp

About a month ago, Oscar Gonzalez said he began hearing late-night voices coming from the alley behind his Pleasant Grove area home and suspected homeless people were camping out.

Gonzalez doesn't use the alley. It's unpaved, there's no access to it from his yard and much of it is barely visible from the street. He says he called 311 to report the problem and never heard back until Tuesday when a Dallas code compliance officer hand-delivered a notice of code violation. It requires Gonzalez clean up his side of the alley within seven calendar days or face an up to $2,000 fine.

"This is not a seven day clean up. I don't have a truck or a trailer to haul this stuff and it's too much," said Gonzalez.

"I don't have $2,000 to pay for this. Nobody does," he added.

He says three other neighbors received the same notice.

"I was very disappointed, I was very upset. I'm trying to figure out how can I get some help," said neighbor Kenneth Harper.

Harper pointed to the used needles and syringes that litter the alley along with garbage and human waste. There is toilet seat balanced on top of a bucket and tents – all signs people have been camping in the alley.

"We explained it to them, we told them it's not our garbage," said Harper. "If it's my garbage, I take it to the dumpster but it's not mine."

The City of Dallas initially told NBC 5 as long as crews observe some progress within seven days, more time can be granted to be in compliance, but that picking up debris is the property owner's responsibility.

Late Wednesday, the city confirmed the Office of Homeless Solutions will assist code compliance to resolve the haz-mat portion of the clean-up.

"It's not healthy for us to be doing this," said Gonzalez. "There's too much trash here."

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