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A mayor in Wyoming is speaking out about the homeless population in his city, claiming they destroyed a motel and left hundreds of pounds of human feces on the streets and sidewalks.
During a recent interview with Cowboy State Daily, Casper Mayor Bruce Knell said the roughly 200 homeless people residing there have created a “mess.”
“It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s third-world-country stuff happening in Casper, Wyoming,” he said.
Knell said city staffers had to clean up roughly 500 pounds of human feces downtown where a sizable portion of the homeless population loiters while others stay in nearby parks or sleep in their cars.
“In desperate times people do desperate things, and unfortunately we’re the ones left having to deal with it,” Knell said.
In addition to defecating on the streets, homeless people also “destroyed” a vacant motel, according to the mayor. Knell says they have been squatting in the former Econo Lodge motel in Casper and caused millions of dollars in damages. Pictures published in news reports show trash littered across the floors of rooms and furniture scattered. The city has since condemned the property, and it has been boarded up by the bank that owns it to keep squatters out.
“They destroyed everything. It’s horrible,” Knell said. “It was unsafe.”
Squatters take over Wyoming city: Vagrants leave millions of dollars worth of damage to motel and 500lbs of human feces in downtown area – as Casper fights off a homeless invasion https://t.co/CwQTHrKDHp pic.twitter.com/XLfdTg96ki
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) September 4, 2023
Other homeless people squat in abandoned houses and buildings that lack running water and power, according to local news reports. Knell says many homeless people come to Casper for the homeless shelter. Not everyone is approved, others get kicked out, and many of those homeless people who are rejected by the shelter never leave the city.
“There’s a certain part of the homeless population, whether substance abuse or mental illness, that is getting them to where they don’t want to conform to society’s rules,” the mayor reportedly said. “When they do that they’re not allowed to go in the shelter, which means they’re just out and about in our community raising hell.”
The city council is considering measures to make Casper less accessible and welcoming to homeless people. Knell says they are “causing so many problems,” and the police “need some teeth to start dealing with the squatting.”
Casper has a population of 58,543 and is the second-largest city in the state.