Butler County Times Gazette
  • Police see homeless from Wichita in El Dorado

  • El Dorado police recently responded to a call about some people who appeared to be living in the band shell at Forrest Park.
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  • El Dorado police recently responded to a call about some people who appeared to be living in the band shell at Forrest Park.
    “An officer got a call and checked out three individuals at the band shell,” said Police Chief Curt Zieman. “When he checked them out, they said they were homeless. They said that they were from Wichita and somebody actually brought them here and told them to stay here for three days because they would qualify for help from Butler Homeless Initiative.”
    He said the people indicated it was somebody with BHI, or who claimed they were with BHI, who picked them up. He said they do not know if this is true and were looking into who brought them over.
    Dallas Collins, a case manager at BHI, said they do not bring homeless into the county.
    “We have a hard time right now with the funding situation and placing Butler County residents, helping them out, let alone bringing people over from another county,” he said.
    Zieman did say the officers don’t see a lot of homeless in town.
    “It seems like we have more now than we used to,” he said. “The corner out at Walmart, there have been homeless people setting there with signs quite a bit lately, but we don’t think the ones at the band shell or Walmart are local people.
    “We always have some. My whole career here, you’ll have transients that come through town. They’ll stick around a week or so and move on, but that is kind of a normal thing everywhere.”
    In addition to being around town, one rental property owner has seen an increase in calls from people wanting to rent his houses who are getting assistance from BHI.
    “It kind of bothers me,” said Gary Taylor. “I have all these people contacting me wanting to rent my house and they’re telling me BHI is going to pay their deposit and four months rent and none of them have a job.”
    He said his question was what happens after four months. He said the people say they will have a job, but he isn’t so sure.
    “I have seven rental houses and this is the first time I’ve had this many people calling me,” he continued. “I bet I’ve had seven calls. I don’t know what’s going on.”
    He said he had never seen the people before so he asked them where they were from and they said El Dorado.
    Page 2 of 2 - His concern is once he gets someone into a rental house, they can be there a year without paying before he would be able to get them out.
    “It sounds like we are importing homeless people so we have something do,” said City Manager Herb Llewellyn.

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