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Health concerns about east side trash pile

Posted at 11:20 PM, Apr 05, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Viewers reached out to RTV6 for help with a giant pile of trash they say is drawing rats and vermin to their community.

Folks near Rural Street, just south of Washington Street, are worried that the trash may cause health problems and they want help from the city.

Jeff Gibson has lived in his east side community since 1975 and says about a year ago people started moving into a nearby vacant lot.

"People around here call it tent city," Gibson said. "I called the mayor's action center to ask them about it."

A spokeswoman for the mayor's action center says people have been reporting the build-up of trash around every 15 days for months.

"I guarantee if it was the mayor's house this would be cleaned up," Gibson said.

Gibson says he isn't asking the mayor to evict the folks experiencing homelessness who stay there, he wants it cleaned. Because he says, the mess is spreading.

"It's like a dam right there - it's gotta overflow. As it overflows it comes across the railroad tracks into this neighborhood," Gibson said. "Now I'm seeing rats."

A spokeswoman for the city says the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's Homeless unit and the Public Blended Street Outreach team has been working with the people living there. They have offered social services, healthcare and resources for substance abuse and helping them find permanent housing.

"Just love on them, they're people, they're child's of God," Scott Long, with Living Water Street Team, said.

Long works to bring food to the people who live in the area.

"I heard today that they were tearing it up, so I wanted to come down, find a place, so we know where to go to feed them," he said.

The city spokeswoman said the lot which is city-owned is being sold and that the private entity buying the land is paying to clean up the lot.

The city tells RTV6 the clean up is expected to be completed by Wednesday.