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Coos County homeless battle 'roadblocks,' say things are more difficult than ever

(KCBY image)

COOS BAY, Ore. -- With a "Homeless Summit" scheduled this week at the Mill Casino in North Bend, we talked with some of those who are affected by homelessness in Coos County.

Many who are homeless in Coos Bay say things are more difficult for them these days.

The City's clean-up of illegal homeless camps means those who were living there no longer have a place to stay.

"We all work hard to survive and that's all we're doing right now, we're surviving, you know, we're not living. We're surviving and it's hard to survive out here," said Chris Grove, a homeless man in Coos Bay.

Grove says he now walks the streets and volunteers at the Devereux Center and other places.

"I've hit a lot of roadblocks in the last five years trying to get people to help me and it's hard,” Grove said. “I pick up a lot of garbage/trash around the neighborhood, all different stuff; I try to help any way I can."

Mark Kavert is also familiar with roadblocks.

He moved to the area with a job lined up but a medical condition prevented him from performing duties.

He's now looking for another way to make ends meet and says not all homeless people are addicts or alcoholics.

"They're some really good people that just got caught in some bad situation and had stuff, and trying to get beyond that point and get it again, and that's what we're trying to do," said Kavert.

Many of the homeless we talked with say they’re eager to work and get out of their situation.

"I'm trying to straighten myself out so when I see my kids, my sons getting married, and it's going to be a big fancy stew,” said Helen Chiaratti, who lives in a car in Coos Bay. “I want to fit in this one, not be the hillbilly I am that shows up as perfectly as they would like."

City officials are working to find a permanent solution to help the homeless in Coos Bay.

The Homeless Summit is this Friday at the Mill Casino from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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