There are still homeless people living in Aberdeen.
City officials acknowledged as much during a recent update on the homeless encampment that blighted a main entrance to downtown before it was cleared out by police and city staff last year.
“Now I’m not saying we’ve gotten rid of homelessness, but all of that conversation, all that noise, all the passion that was brought to this table through [Police Chief Henry Trabert] and other staff in the city, we fixed that problem,” City Manager Randy Robertson told the mayor and city council last week.
For a number of winters, homeless people have put up tents and created highly visible homeless villages in the area of Route 22 and the Rogers Street off ramp. For a couple of winters, tents were staked in the woods on the west side of the tracks, making them easily seen by eastbound traffic on Route 22.
Then, they moved to the east side of Aberdeen, setting up camp within sight of Route 22 on that side of the city. At that encampment, two homeless people died in a fire caused by a heater in their tent.
Numerous churches and organizations do plenty to help the county’s homeless population, and have done so for years. So does the county government.
No matter how much is done, homelessness isn’t going to end because it’s a complicated matter with many diverse root causes. One of the toughest hurdles to clear is that not everyone who is homeless wants help. Nor do they all want to take advantage of the various opportunities to get off the streets or out of the woods.