With one week to go it appears  the homeless living on a downtown Great Falls Church Property are in no hurry to leave.  It was announced last week that United Methodist Church was dropping efforts to allow the homeless to stay on church property and instead would for all to leave the property by August first.  Pictures taken Sunday (July 24,2022) by our newsroom show little movement by the homeless.

The church began letting the homeless stay on the property a year ago but city officials filed suit against the church in late May saying the church was violating several city ordinances by allowing the homeless to stay on church property.  Police say the area has seen a steady increase in crime over the past year with over 165 calls  for service to the homeless camp.  Police Chief Jeff Newton says there have also been an increase in assaults on police.

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Residents in the area have told city officials they don't feel safe walking in the area and the manager of a local food store next to the homeless camp says he has seen people urinating on the back of his store and even masturbating.

The United Methodist Pastor who began the effort to house the homeless has since left the Great Falls Church for a new gig in Colorado.  Pastor Jeff Wakeley says the city of Great Falls has a homeless housing issue and he hoped the allowance of the homeless on the downtown church property would bring light to what he called a city problem.