St. Johns County

Neighbors express concerns about homeless camp near St. Augustine middle school

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Into the woods off Lewis Speedway in St. Augustine is a small homeless camp filled with miscellaneous items like bicycle parts, lawn chairs and even a stray dog.

“They are everywhere now. It’s unfortunate,” neighbor Jessica Littlefield said.

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Homeless camps are not uncommon in St. Johns County, but what is upsetting residents is this one’s location.

Right down the street is Sebastian Middle School. Students walking to school have to pass by every day.

Neighbors want it gone.

“It’s really scary because you’ve got the children walking home from school right here,” neighbor Cydney Colson said.

“As close as this camp was to the school, it just really made me relive those thoughts at how easy it would be for a child walking to or from school, something to happen,” Littlefield said.

Dozens of St. Augustine residents voiced their opinions online about the issue.

Action News Jax called the school district on Wednesday. We were told deputies came to the camp.

On Thursday, the property owners said “no trespassing” signs will soon be up.

Neighbors like Littlefield want real laws in place to get ahead of camps setting up.

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“I would like to at least see some ordinance in place that would prohibit camps to be established near or in a school zone,’ Littlefield said.

County officials said there is no ordinance in place directly dealing with homeless camps, although there are laws regarding primitive camps.

If you see a homeless camp you’re worried about, the Sheriff’s Office encourages you to call 904-824-8304.