LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) The police team assigned to clear and clean illegal homeless camps in Lafayette is struggling to keep up with complaints from residents, Police Spokesperson Cpl. Bridgette Dugas said.

Over the weekend, mounted police units along with several uniformed officers walked through fields in an area along Castille and Daigle Streets in Lafayette to direct people who are homeless into social services and housing.

Dugas said the job comes with an emotional toll because its difficult to see people struggle.

“You want to treat everyone with respect, but transit camps can negatively impact the community and the environment. Fires started in these woods could spread to nearby neighborhoods causing severe property damage. Also, inadequate human waste disposal can pose hazard to water supply in nearby communities.”

With below freezing temperatures anticipated in the coming days, Dugas said, the homeless members of our community should be in safer spaces.

She said Lafayette offers shelters for both men and women in need and many hotels have partnered with local shelters to provide temporary housing.

According to Police Chief Thomas Glover, the department is working on a partnership with the community aimed at addressing the homelessness in the city.

“Last month, we began collaboration with some stakeholders for the sole purpose of conducting a Point-In-Time count. Measures of this nature are periodically used to locate, identify, and accurately count the homeless population,” Thomas said.

“The data is used to determine what resources/services (medical, mental health, etc) are available to help those in need. Stay tuned for updates, as we invite the community to join in these efforts.”