Earth Day spurs special effort to clean up homeless camps

Posted at 7:14 PM, Apr 22, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- Cleanup crews call the homeless camps in the foothills north of Salt Lake City a hoarding situation gone horribly wrong.

In an effort to clean up the mountain along Victory Road, the Salt Lake Valley Health Department along with a dozen convicts working on community service cleared the homeless camps Tuesday.

“We understand this is where these people live,” said Dale Keller, Bureau Director for Environmental Health. “We have a procedure that we always post beforehand, before a cleanup is conducted. We will provide information on homeless shelters those types of things to try to give them viable options.”

In the piles of garbage, volunteers often find needles and other drug paraphernalia. Health Department officials say it's a big project because of the safety concerns, amount of stuff and steep terrain.

“Clearly this is not acceptable and has to be taken care of,” Keller said.

Year-round the health department works on cleaning up homeless camps, but this was a special effort for Earth Day.