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Off the Street

(Bob Croslin)

About five years ago, an encampment of homeless people took root in Fort Lauderdale on the grounds of the county library downtown, just a couple blocks from the riverfront and stylish Las Olas Boulevard.

In time, 80 people lived there in tents. Some had generators and barbecue grills, but there were no toilets or showers. The smell was, I’m told, horrendous. There were rats. Constant noise. Fear. Most residents jammed their tents together for whatever security that the proximity afforded. Violence was common, particularly against women. The homeless panhandled workers at downtown businesses and visitors to the library. At night, drug dealers slipped into the area ...

 

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