SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — Several camps of people experiencing homelessness in the Foothills area will be cleaned up this week, according to the Salt Lake County Department. Fortunately for the camp members, they were warned ahead of time.

The department is hosting a “major” effort starting on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and possibly continuing throughout the week, to clean up camps east of Victory Road north of Salt Lake City.

According to the press release, there have been reports of “human waste and excessive debris” in illegal camps in this area.

Officials say the waste, drug paraphernalia, and debris found in the camps can increase fire risk and pose an environmental health hazard for the community, according to the press release.

They say the site has been cleaned at a large scale consistently for 30 years, sometimes as often as once a year. The clean-up efforts require heavy machinery and multiple government agencies involved, including the Salt Lake City Homeless Engagement and Response Team.

Prior to the event, agency representatives and social service agents warned camp members several times to move their belongings by Monday, Sept. 4, the release said.

Social services also educated those in the campsites on resources available to them, including housing, employment, behavioral, and substance use resources.

The Salt Lake City Housing Stability Division says people often choose camps over shelters to have a sense of privacy, safety, community, or access to substances. When camps are relatively small and clean, the city works to help camp members accept resources and services.

However, when the camps pose environmental or safety issues to the community, they use other methods such as clean-up or camp abatement efforts.

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