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Posted on Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Documentary tells story of Camp Take Notice and its closing near Ann Arbor

By Cindy Heflin

University of Michigan lecturer Anthony Collings has produced a documentary about Camp Take Notice, the former homeless encampment along M-14 in Scio Township.

The video, posted on the website Vimeo, features segments on several of the camp’s former residents and chronicles daily life at the camp. It includes information about state officials’ closing of the camp and about how former residents are coping in the aftermath.

Collings is a former CNN foreign and Washington correspondent. Watch the video below.

TAKE NOTICE: A Camp for the Homeless from Anthony Collings on Vimeo.

Cindy Heflin is associate news director for Contact her at or 734-623-2572 or follow her on Twitter.



Sun, Sep 9, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

I watched this documentary. I thought that perhaps I'd hear some truly heart-rending stories from people who have experienced hardship above and beyond anything I might have seen in my life. I was disappointed. Rather, what I saw was exactly what was to be expected: Groups of individuals, either with current or prior substance abuse problems, for whom no real reason explains why they either don't have, or cannot pursue, a home or stable employment. Many have completely alienated their own families (otherwise, they'd live with them), for whatever reason. A dozen readers are going to have a thousand reasons why these people are special and thus need extra help and attention. However, from what I saw in the documentary, many understand what it means to live within a society (they vote on camp issues, retain and expel members, etc.) In that sense, many should have a decent understanding why *we* - the other citizens of Ann Arbor, don't want them in our own camp, so to speak. At least, that is, until they clean themselves up to society's standards and meet many of society's expectations.

Ricardo Queso

Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

These gullible folks are being used and enabled by some left wings nuts.

Honest Abe

Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Why are you people talking about these bums, again? CTN is gone (Thank goodness)!


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Next thing you know there will be a reality TV show................


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

You know thats not a bad idea, let the public see how these people game the system. 2 Thumbs up


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 5:32 p.m. obama was the food stamp, job killing president but somehow camp "Somebody Lookit Me" is Ronmey's fault? Another more Hollywood nonsense by sniveling obama lovers.


Sun, Sep 9, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

If you are so against big government, because it seems that you are, why are you so against a community supported way to cope with homelessness?


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

Wait Wait Wait... Let me go make some popcorn so I can properly enjoy all the informed commentary to follow!!


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

I also find it odd that no liberal atheits groups were helping them, I only noticed the mean religious right. How could that be?

E Claire

Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

Amazing, isn't it?

Dog Guy

Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

I am certain that the Anti-Christian Litigation Union was closely monitoring the situation.


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

I watched the entire video and it does show a side to this story that is touching. The documentary used more implicit messages and allowed the audience to think independently. Overall, I feel this is a quality documentary that does tell a story. However, I do have a complaint which I will detail below: When the documentary mentioned government cutbacks to homelessness the picture of Mitt Romney was displayed. Romney is quoted that he doesn't have much concern for the very poor because there are safety nets. For the last four years, Barrack Obama has been our president. In addition, the other camp these people lived in was eliminated when Barrack Obama came to visit the Univerisity of Michigan (,0). From what I understand very little to nothing was offered to the campers then. For those of you who doubt that was the case, MISSION referenced a Wall Street Journal article explaining that they felt the same way, please read: Let me quote one line from the article, "Brian Nord, a graduate student at the university and president of the board of Mission, a nonprofit group that works with the homeless, said "the local government doesn't want the appearance of this" while the President is in Ann Arbor." So it seems unfair that Mitt Romney is portrayed in this negative context while Barrack Obama's visit to U of M is potentially the reason why the other camp was disbanded and very little was done for the campers then. That one-sided viewpoint seems unbalanced and unfair--especially in a documentary.

E Claire

Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Thank you! Obama went on and on about Detroit at the convention but has he ever gone into these poor neighborhoods in Detroit to meet the people he supposedly cares so much for? Only those who can pay $500 a ticket get to meet the prez in Detroit.


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

Of course there is a right way!! Democrats get thrown to the curb in November and Republicans (the adults) restore the economy (as Snyder is doing for Michigan) businesses begin hiring again and our little campers GO BACK TO WORK. That seems to be the problem everyone it talking around - many of these people don't have any intention of working - hence their demand for "permanent housing" paid for by those working. Government safety nets are helpful but they need to avoid creating mindless slacker dependence - meaning work for benefits - clean streets or pick up trash - until they find a real job. Further, they belong in communities that are better suited for their income level, such as Detroit. Move there and enjoy your life of leisure in a city that has devolved as one of the most dependent in history. Those who don't want to work need to be introduced to those of us who refuse to enable their chosen "lifestyle" with our checkbooks.


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

everyone cleanup when some one come or something come to the city. take Detroit when they had the Superbowl. all the cities clean up when it should have been cleaned up already. how about people that lost their job. we can not take care of everyone. we should still try that is the american way. some time if just does not work to make everyone happy. sad but true. so go ahead and nail me on my comments. their is no right or wrong way to handle this problem.

music to my ear

Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

I too thought the same .when obama came to town lets clean up the city a little bit . lets all Email the white house because I am sure he (obama) was clue less

shadow wilson

Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

Might it occur that these folks like being homeless? That they prefer to drink and use drugs and commit petty crimes......some may scoff at that but many refuse any help as they don't want to give up their lifestyle.


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

I find it odd that the 3 people mentioned in this story with criminal convictions were all "falsely accused". What are the odds?


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 3 p.m.

A poll of readers would no doubt reveal virtual unanimity on solving homelessness in our fair city. Ignore it. It'll go away. And if we leave hundreds of homeless outside for the winter, the problem will go away even faster because some of them will die.

4 Fingers

Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

..or move south...

music to my ear

Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

From the looks of some residents of the camp, most could probably collect disability one way or another the tax payers pay. might as well take care of our own, instead of sending it to another country where their goverment pads their own pockets this story goes round and round just put up trailers like fema did during the hurricanes. why cant all the great minds find a solution, winter is on the way, please great minds go to work, where the heck is our congress rep there are lots of area in washtenaw lot of land yet they are not allowed to squat they tried to make a home, but it was not acceptable has no one ever been so down they couldnt get up we have welfare where too many people abuse that I ve seen .it I worked at a store ,and honey so of the things people buy on food stamps,here I am working but yet I could not afford steak and shrimp .so its all corrupted anyway.


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Why does this heartless man, Mr. Collins, continue to exploit these poor people? Get them a place to live, then get them a job and let them enjoy the "AMERICAN DREAM" Instead, these people are paraded on film for a "POLITICAL" statement while they continue to suffer! How heartless!


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

Why dont they get THEMSELVES a job and a place to live? Why is it anybody elses responibility?

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

In order to have the "AMERICAN DREAM" you have to be asleep


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

"Why does this heartless man, Mr. Collins, continue to exploit these poor people?" Thats what liberals do.


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 10:10 a.m.

Just when I thought I wouldn't have see another Camp Take Notice story. Boom! There she is.

music to my ear

Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

that is because it goes round and round no solution. no problems solved .and guess what it wont be the last. story.