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Posted on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

State erects 8-foot fence to keep homeless from returning to Camp Take Notice site

By Ryan J. Stanton

Related story: Camp Take Notice residents prepare to leave homeless encampment as deadline looms

Thursday update: Enforcement plan uncertain as eviction deadline nears at Camp Take Notice

The state is putting up an 8-foot-tall, chain-link fence to block a homeless encampment from returning to a nearly 9-acre site on a state highway median west of Ann Arbor.

It's just one of the precautionary measures being taken as the state shuts down Camp Take Notice, said Mark Sweeney, a regional manager for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

"We've been hearing from the community and from Camp Take Notice that the homeless have been using this area for a long time as a makeshift home," Sweeney said, adding there have been complaints from nearby residents that the homeless have left the area a mess.


Workers erect metal poles for a fence along Wagner Road between the street and what is currently Camp Take Notice on Wednesday.

Melanie Maxwell I

"We really wanted to resolve the issue once and for all," he said. "So after the camp is closed, we'll be closing off the area."

Sweeney added, "It's not against Camp Take Notice specifically, but more to prevent a homeless encampment of any kind in this location."

Workers were out erecting metal poles for a fence along Wagner Road between the street and what is currently Camp Take Notice on Wednesday. Sweeney said the fencing will run along Wagner Road and then about 150 feet up Interstate 94 and M-14.

Representatives of MDOT and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, which is working on a housing program that provides camp residents with one year's rent, said they didn't know the cost of the fence. Sweeney acknowledged there have been concerns that the fence might be unsightly, but he said keeping the homeless out is of greater concern.

With the scheduled shutdown of Camp Take Notice two days away, residents of the homeless encampment who are now in line to move into subsidized housing told on Wednesday they have no complaints and are happy to be moving into homes.

Scio Township resident Joe DaSilva, who is glad to see Camp Take Notice coming to a safe end, said he drove by and noticed the fence going up.

"The good thing is they're going to find a better place to live," he said of the homeless. "They've not had a good experience there recently. That is not the place for them to be."

As for the fence, DaSilva said he's not worried about it.

"If it keeps them out of there, I'm actually kind of happy," he said. "They obviously wanted to be there even when they were told they can't, so hopefully that's going to keep them out. I guess every other option hasn't worked, so this is what has to be done."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Bill T.

Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 8:05 a.m.

They should put barbed wire and razor wire on the top of the fence, just to be sure. Of course, bolt cutters can cut through a fence, but the aforementioned devices, along with plenty of "NO TRESPASSING" signs, should do the job nicely.

Bill T.

Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 7:52 a.m.

I spent 6 months at this camp. It saved me from being on the streets, literally. They helped me more than I can describe. They do great work. However, I can also understand why nearby residents do not want this camp in their area. So, I agree with both sides of the debate. That makes it difficult. Lastly, I will admit that the vast majority of the camp residents suffer from substance abuse and/or mental illness. I lived there long enough to know that. Some other solution must be developed. If the camp simply relocates, the same thing will happen. The leader, Caleb, must finally give up on this idea and focus on HIS problems.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

Fences aren't cheap!


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

Wouldn't it be easier and less expensive to cut down he trees and bushes that has been done to eradicate this situation in other highway ramp areas? I don't think a fence is going to keep anyone out of there, it will take a wall.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

After living in the Arbor Landings apartments on the corner of Dexter and Wagner for 2 years, our family finally decided to purchase a home in this same area. After hearing of the sex offender living in the Camp, and seeing cars, bikes, and campers parked all along Wagner we almost decided to move elsewhere. I have made friends with a few of the panhandlers who regularly look through our trash at the apartments, and I can say they are not all the same. However, all of the campers I have seen or met seem 100% capable of looking for a job rather than riding a bike in a huge loop around the city collecting trash and taking it easy all day. The decision to kick out the campers was 100% the right thing to do, in my opinion. My biggest concern is that nobody knows who is living down there at any given time, and if anyone knows where they use the bathroom, please speak up. We have kids age 6 and 7 so our focus is obviously on protecting and keeping our family safe, rather than trying to save the world.... or at least the 40 or so people who have fallen on hard times with no intention of picking themselves back up. Honest Abe, I would take you as a neighbor anyday no matter what these clueless people rant about on here. The government subsidized housing is plenty accomodating, given not one person in the encampment pays a dollar in taxes anywhere but the store for sales tax.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

Just stating my opinion. Luck wasn't always so good for me, but thank God I didn't give up. Should I repeat all of the heartbreaking stories I've heard since moving to Ann Arbor? Maybe I should tell a few of my own. The bottom line is I do not support them living on this land, and you do. The rally started at 4, so where are you at?


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

"... all of the campers I have seen or met seem 100% capable of looking for a job rather than riding a bike in a huge loop around the city ..." Well now, aren't you the clever one - only - you seem to have forgotten that job availability is at its lowest level since the 1930s. But that's okay, humans fail to appreciate their good luck (in not being one of the several million victims of Republican idiocy) routinely anyway. Just don't imagine that your "wisdom" impressed very many people. Your "wisdom" comes off looking more like an arrogant sense of entitlement - just FYI.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

Let's see. If the residents of CTN had vacated the property when told originally they were there illegally, I guess we would not be arguing about the cost of the fence, would we?

Steven Harper Piziks

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

For the next year, I'm donating all the royalties I get from my ebooks at Book View Cafe and from Amazon to the Delonis Shelter. I've made a cash donation as well. Can you join in? Even a few dollars helps. You can donate on-line with a credit or debit card at the shelter's web site:

Ron Granger

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

It takes a community to build a village. And fences to keep the low income people out.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

As any staunch Republican will tell us: find those responsible for this disaster and make them pay. Oh wait, it was the Republican anti-regulation policy which led to the commission of massive financial crimes which in turn toppled both the jobs and real estate markets which is at the root of the nationwide homeless problem. I guess the Republicans owe us a few trillion dollars... or they should be moving into places like this homeless camp themselves. Which is it to be? When are we going to hold those responsible accountable and take from them what they've taken from us?? (I think today would be the right time.) I want to see everyone who's voted for any Republican since the 2000 election step up and make this recession right for the rest of us. You owe us!!


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 5 p.m.

Yes, sir Tru2Blu76 - Rep Barney Frank from Mass, he and his Republican buddies whose videos from hearing you can watch in the internet - yelling at bankers about not lending for homeloans to low income people. Threatning to take away their banking licenses if they don't loosen up on the lending requirements. Then there are the amendments Rep. Frank offered to reduce documentation "barriers" to loans. Rep Frank - A great republican! OH WAIT Rep. Frank is a Democrat!


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

@Enso: First thank you for at least showing me that I'm not alone in my judgement on this matter of Republican culpability and accountability. But I do know the Republican (and conservative) audience quite well, having once helped form the Michigan Conservative Party under the leadership of Republican State Senator Robert J. Huber. It is that history and knowledge which facilitated my knowing where to look when it comes to finding the promoters of "Laissez Faire Capitalist Principles" (aka, load of propaganda hogwash). "Laissez Faire" -as some French speakers know, means literally "hands off" and that is behind the Republicans' campaign to keep government (regulatory) hands off the criminals who are a part of our economic system. I'm simply *reminding them* of some other principles they (the conservatives) like to tout when assuring the rest of the public of their trustworthiness (ha-ha). Generally, I believe both (and any) ideological camps are "full of it" and have little or no interest in actually serving the public, rather, by their every action and utterance, both the Republican and Democratic parties show they are far more bent on manipulating and deceiving us. It just happens that the topic of this article is one where the Republicans are proven to be the instigators and culprits. My conclusion therefore remains: they owe us.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

Come one TruBlu... You have to know your audience. Republicans are never going to be able to understand your comment. Even though your comment is completely rational and follows logic based on factual events, it won't be understood. It's the sad state of affairs of the right wing in this country. They are more worried about forcing government into the private lives of individuals in love, women, children, etc. All the while their tax dollars are going to billionaires instead of fixing their roads or securing their retirement. or making sure they are healthy and protected. I'm so sick of these people.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

I don't think the fence is so bad. Fences bordering expressways are very common. What will make it ugly, though, is when somebody comes along and starts hanging dirty, ugly textiles on it like I've seen on other fences around town. I'm hoping somebody out there isn't calling that garbage "art," but my knowledge of Ann Arborites tells me somebody probably is.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

How about lending a hand to our unfortunate citizens? So sad we do this to our own and spend Billion on other countries that we need to battle in war the next day.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

I'm sorry, we can't do that. We've chosen to spend billions to take care of millions of Mexico's poor people instead.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

8 feet is not difficult to climb, and chain link is easily snipped with boltcutters. Is there any way this fence can be retrofitted to carry an electric charge?

Corn Dog

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

Just plant a thick cover of poison ivy, they'll catch on eventually.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Why are some people so judgmental about the homeless? Have you no compassion for your fellow man? Have you not heard of the expression: There for the grace of God, go I? Sure, it is great that you have a job and a home. Be grateful. But don't assume that people who don't have a job are lazy and refuse to work. Don't assume to know anything about them. In case you haven't heard millions of people lost their jobs in the last decade due to the recession and outsourcing; employers are refusing to hire the laid off and former professionals are often rejected from low skilled work for being over qualified. As to those who are homeless because they have addiction problems: sure, they did things that led to their condition. Or maybe they didn't. The majority of homeless are mentally ill. A long time ago they used to be in state hospitals. But the government shut down the hospitals and released people who had been institutionalized for years and had no life skills. They told them to go the Community Mental Health centers. Then the state barely funded those and kept cutting CMH budgets. The unmedicated and unskilled turned to alcohol and drugs as away to control their symptoms. Try getting a job when you are an unmedicated schizophrenic who has no family support, no home, no idea where your next meal is coming from , and you are hearing auditory hallucinations all day long. And have no access to a shower. The pull yourself up by your bootstraps thing is a nice idea, but it isn't based in reality. The truth is that human beings are social animals who need a social system to survive. We don't succeed in a vacuum. Chances are, if you are successful financially, you had help: maybe you were born into a wealthy family who owned a successful company who could pay for your college and give you a job once you graduated. Maybe you worked hard in school and earned a scholarship funded by a generous benefactor. You didn't do it alone.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

since when is expecting people not to squat or trespass being uncompassionate? they are getting free rent for a year now, doesn't sound compassionless at all


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

It's ugly, a waste of money, and most likely it will be easier for people to hide in there now with the fence up. So unless they put up a camera or patrol it regularly, it will turn into exactly they think they are preventing. There has been homeless people living in the woods around that area for at least the last 20 years. A fence won't likely stop them. I predict that we will here about this again around Art Fair, which is when the homeless population of Ann Arbor almost doubles each year.

Red Floyd

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

...Because chain-link fences are so hard to climb!

Ron Granger

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

They are likely spending over $100,000 for this fence. The money comes right out of the budget for potholes, road improvements and repairs. And yet, they can't confirm the cost or who authorized it. MDOT apparently has more money than they know what to do with.

Ron Granger

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

Brad, since you pay such close attention to my posts you should know by now - cars aren't evil, it's the drivers that are evil.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

@Ron is suddenly concerned about potholes and road improvements, which if I'm correct are mostly to benefit the evil automobile.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

Too bad they couldn't donate the same amount to a homeless shelter.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

If an island between two expressways shrouded in trees is offensive to neighbors, why not set up another location for a similar self-governing Camp Take Notice for those who choose to freeze in tents all winter, swelter in the summer, live with minimal sanitation and no showers. Like the old CTN, it wouldn't allow drinking or drugs. There is apparently a need for an encampment like this. Why chase these folks all over town?


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

I wonder why they just didn't go in like they did in other areas and just chop the trees and brush down?

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

I'm guessing that's coming. They already did some of this along the EB M-14 lane, and it has exposed some of the tents. After the camp is gone, I wouldn't be surprised if they finished the job. I think it makes these areas look much nicer.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

What a waste of tax payer's dollars -- absolutely disgusting. These funds could have gone toward something more useful, like street repairs, schools, etc.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

Are you kidding me? We are laying off workers but funding an 8 foot fence? Hmm. I doubt that going to work so the city better get their attorney's to work and file some expensive suit that will clog up the justice system too. Since they seem to have so much money to waste. Are they going to fence off every piece of vacant land around the highway? I am pretty sure you can just "move" a camp anywhere....


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

@Nurse - The fence is being built by the state, not by the city. Let's face it, if we can't afford police and firefighters, we can't afford fences. Or maybe they could call it public art... ;^)

Jon Saalberg

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

""The good thing is they're going to find a better place to live," he said of the homeless. "They've not had a good experience there recently. That is not the place for them to be." Really? I think it's a extremely unrealistic to make such an assumption about people with whom we have absolutely no relation to on any level, particularly in economic terms.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

hopefully someones kid won't vandalize the fence


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Good post.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

Exactly what Jesus would have done!


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

It does sound better than the previous solutions which were to clear entire areas of the vast majority of the trees and brush in an effort to eliminate cover. It still only a white-wash approach as these are people and this will only result in transferring the issue another location (which I would suspect the local neighbors may be in agreement).


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

Seriously? There isn't somewhere more appropriate to spend these funds?


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

Exactly. I can think of a few roads that need repair before dropping $20k on this fence.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

This "Wall" reminds of the Israeli wall surrounding Bethlehem and the former Berlin Wall that was meant to keep residents of the GDR from leaving and heading west. What a shame that the "State" feels the need to do such a thing? I think this "Fence" proofs just how out of touch our Republican controlled State really is. What's next? Concentration camps?


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

Sparty, although I contributed from the age of 14 into SS I will not be taking it, I am now self employed and file as an S Corp, that means I no longer pay into SS, and that means I will not be able to draw from it, it also means I have to plan on this by funding my own retirement instead. In setting up an emergency fund I have also been funding a little at a time my own "medicare" account. Although I pay into medicare hopefully I won't need to draw on it. I don't make loads of money mind you, I also don't live high on the hog, my car is a 98, I am an extreme couponer (haven't paid for toilet paper for example in over four years!) I make my own soda pop and have always been a saver and not a spender, what I save by saving I save for later.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

@Bunny, Do you plan to take Social Security? If so, then you do realize that it will take 2-3 people paying in to it to pay for you, correct? What you will have contributed won't be enough to pay for your SS, should you live to the average given increasing life expectancy? You'll be living on the dole. Same with Medicare. According to your own definitions, you'll be a slave and prisoner of the government you so detest apparently. If you take Medicare Part D, you'll be getting ObamaCare benefits that will have closed the donut hole on prescriptions, what do you think of that? Same with it's preventative health care benefits, removal of lifetime medical caps. Hmmm, just to name a few.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

Sparty, I pay taxes and fees. the difference is I don't view myself as "relying" on the gov't, that state of mind has me living, working and having goals under the belief that I can rely on myself. my taxes and fews help to subsidise those that aren't able to rely on themselves and also those that don't want to.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

Bunny, do you use roads? Then you rely on the Govt. Likewise if you use electricity due to the power grid, fly due to the FAA, use the Internet or email, have garbage picked up, send kids to school or university, get Social security or Medicare, see a doctor or get a prescription, get water or sewer services, buy food inspected by FDA, buy gasoline, use the mail service / USPS, then you rely on the Govt. In short, you rely on the govt for every thing from water, to power, to roads, to education, to transportation, to healthcare, to burial. So your post shows your lack of awareness!


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

Always blame the other party. I think it was the DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION or the STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT that made the decision to fence it in.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

it could be argued that having people on the dole, in the system of "housing" food stamps, other government "programs" tracks them and essentially tattoos a number on them. Do for yourself and your fellow man = freedom, depend on the government = slave, prisoner.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 11:17 a.m.

Will there also be machine gun towers put in place?


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 10:45 a.m.

You would think the state has somethi8ng more important to spend money on.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 5:23 a.m.

I passed by this area the other day (like I do nearly everyday) and was stopped and had to wait for the man to say I could proceed, traffic was down to one lane. the fence, so far, is and will be ugly. Something I would expect to see in ypsi, not on the very westside of a2, the fence would not keep anyone out that wanted in. It's not like the people in the neighborhood wouldn't notice squatters and its not like a sheriff or a state trooper couldn't stop by to check the sight every so often. thanks to ctn for yet again sticking it to the neighborhood you squatted in.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

"Now you have an ugly chain link fence instead of a Hooverville." In this era of The King's economic policies, they're now called "Obamavilles."

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

Mike has a good point, as usual. There are plenty of wooded areas around southern Ypsitucky that would be a great location for CTN. Or Riverside Park would be even better.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

@Sara - "We have beautiful historic architecture." Is that what you cal the Water Tower? That is not what we called it when I was at EMU. Seriously, I agree with you overall. I just could not resist taking a pot-shot at the Ypsi Water Tower for old times sake! ;^)


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Sara, does Ypsi have it's own CTN also? Maybe you can suggest a location for one, and show us how it's done.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

Something you would expect to see in Ypsi? Wow. Really? Really?! I know you probably think Ypsi is a den of crack houses and gangs, but seriously it isn't. We have nice neighborhoods with great families. We have beautiful historic architecture. We have an active community. We are also very diverse culturally and economically. We have farmer's markets, great local restuarants and bars, and really awesome stores. Also, cool people everywhere. You should come visit sometime! Camp Take Notice is not responsible for the fence. The people responsible for the fence are residents of the neighborhood who complained to the state and local authorities about CTN. The government listened to you. Now you have an ugly chain link fence instead of a Hooverville.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

There goes the wildlife they liked watching. And wait until it is nothing but brush and fallen trees.Then watch the people start complaing about the mess.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

@Abe, it was already illegal to trespass there and squat there, the neighbors complained about the activity and the squatters for politically correct reasons were not immediately removed, the police knew, could see and visited the "encampment". This was all done without a fence. The site could be monitored without a fence. The fence is ugly.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 5:53 a.m.

The fence just may be ugly. But realistically the locks on your home would not keep anyone out who really wanted in either. The fence around Vet's park pool would not keep anyone out who really wanted in too. Bottom line, you would not want to get caught inside those places unless you are suppose to be there. Go ahead...hop the go to jail.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:59 a.m.

Waiting patiently for the greenbelt purchase of this property. On a side note, is set up for a real good story on the poor fawn that gets stuck inside the fenceline, especially if that dang cougar starts shooting fish in a barrell.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:49 a.m.

Is anyone out here willing to allow whoever wishes, to use their personal backyard as Camp Take Notice II ? Who out here is willing to allow this now, or when their one year stay in subsidized housing ends? If you are willing, I will personally pay to have it published with multiple advertising providers I know, and let's end the complaining. Here is your chance to bring Camp Take Notice BACK! Except it will be in your personal backyard.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:22 a.m.

I remember a time when my wife and I actually visited Camp Take Notice. I saw guys there smoking $6.50 packs of cigarettes, some drinking liquor out of a brown bag, and most seemed like they did not have a worry in the world. There was one guy who explained he use to be a "skilled laborer", and he went on and on if he only could find a job. What this guy did not know, was the things he was going on about actually pertained to what I do for a living. My wife and I huddled, and we walked back through and offered him help. I offered him what so many people these days need - A Job. Along with that, came a new chance at things. When this guy realized I was serious, his attitude changed. He had no interest in working. I told him "let's go, you are hired". Those words did not even make his eyes lift up. I realized this guy did not want help. Neither did the rest of them. My wife and I have offered people help. We will feed anyone, and try to point you in the right direction. We have offered food to the guys you see at the US-23 exit ramps, only to get snarled at. Here they were, holding signs that read "Homeless, will work for food"., and I am here with a brown grocery bag, full of fresh food, that my w ife and I prepared then drove to give it to have it rejected. There are over 100,000 people that live in Ann Arbor, not including the surrounding cities. So let me ask, out of the few dozen people that resided at tent city, how many of you tried to take them into your PERSONAL home? since you feel so sympathetic regarding Camp Take Notice. How many of you have offered them a job? I have extended my hand in offering help, only to have it slapped away from people who appear they want help, but actually want a free ride.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

Abe, your article reminded me of this documentary that I recommend. I am sure it is not always accurate but it does include examples of how people act. The host himself got made up to look like a sidewalk beggar and actually got money with his sign, "I'm not going to lie to you, I need a beer." He got as much in an hour as he did with his cold and homeless sign. You actually can make some good cash sitting with a sign. That is obvious I guess or they would not keep doing it.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

Please realize that not all homeless are like this. There are some people who've pretended to be homeless and are scamming others. But just because some people are scammers does not mean that all the homeless are out there refusing help. My dad was homeless once. He hurt his back on the job. It wasn't job related so he couldn't get worker's comp. He didn't qualify for unemployment. Since he wasn't able to work (he was a journeyman wire man electrican who'd never refused work and had several jobs where he'd be working 12 hrs/6 days in places like the Waste water Treatment Plant in Detroit. In summer. After he went through his savings, he lost his apartment and started living in his car. Then he lost his car. So, thankfully friends took him in. (I was out of state at the time and he kept me in the dark so I wouldn't worry) He couch surfed for several months, till his back healed. Then he started taking the bus to the union hall to sign the book (for a job). Once he earned enough money, he got a car. Then he was able to get a place with one of his work buddies. He was in his late forties when all of this happened. Before his back injury: he had a nice car, nice apartment, nice furniture and savings. Not to mention the ability and willingness to work. He wasn't a drunk. He wasn't an addict. He was just a great guy who had some really bad luck. Thankfully, he had a social support that helped him with a place to stay, a place to shower, and a place to recuperate. And he was always grateful to those people that helped. And he was always willing to help out someone who fell on hard times. Unfortunately, my dad died in 2006. But I know had he encountered you while he was on hard times, he would have been grateful.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

I have to concur with part of what Honest Abe has said in this post. While I have not visited Camp Take Notice, both my wife and I have experienced having the folks at the exit ramps reject food, fresh food purchased just to give to them, when offered. Had I offered them money they would have gladly taken it, I am sure. While I realize that Abe's observations are likely not indicative of everyone living in Camp Take Notice, it is still a reality that a number of these folks are simply "working the system," and are living out a choice for their lifestyle. Does anyone think it is a coincidence that this large encampment exists in Ann Arbor and not in or near some other city in Michigan?

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:40 a.m.

So, does this mean the city is about to put a fence around every piece of public land that homeless people might want to camp on? Seems like a rather silly and wasteful reaction.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

@Macabre Sunset - The fence is being built by the state, not by the city. Let's face it, if we can't afford police and firefighters, we can't afford fences. Or maybe they could call it public art... ;^)


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 5:02 a.m.

Ain't no law in the land that makes you have to have something except the affordable care act. The Indians lived off the land for years, why can't those that came after them do the same?

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:37 a.m.

This is not a case of the local bum, sleeping on the park bench, using newspapers as a blanket. This is a matter of a decent piece of public land, that has literally dozens and dozens of people OCCUPYING it. It is sad that it has resorted to a fence, to somewhat keep them out. Just because they are homeless doe not give them the right to occupy something that is not to be used. If anything the State is taking a liability and turning back into an asset.

martini man

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:24 a.m.

All I can say is Landlords Beware !!! I am not sure just who will be allowing these folks to live in these rental homes. Will they be private residences like family homes ...or private apartments ??? I have an idea that once the free year's rent expires, that many will just squat and force the landlord to evict them. This is a slow legal process and in the meantime, the property owner is pretty much helpless. Many homeless people are VERY astute when it comes to the laws regarding renters and evictions, and can and will play it to the max. So once again Landlords Beware!!! Your desire to help the downtrodden could end up being a nightmare.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

i live in this area & i totally disagree with the fence. first off traffic was horrible in the area today because of the fence, it looks HORRIBLE & all they have to do is walk to the overpass on dexter ave to get under the bridge!! the fence is a horrible waste of money & i'm really sure it will keep people out

Jack Campbell

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:59 a.m.

I think a fence around Ypsi would do more good.

Red Floyd

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

Jack...I've always supported your comments on these various articles, because I would feel the same way if I were you. Then you had to go and make an ignorant, foolish comment about Ypsilanti. Yet no one in Ypsi is complaining about a massive homeless camp in their backyard. Maybe Scio Township needs the fence so your "undesirable" neighbors don't invade our community.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:55 a.m.

I can tell your knowledge of Ypsilanti, is LIMITED at best.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:37 a.m.

Never had a pan handler shout at me in downtown Ypsi, but I get that in downtown Ann Arbor every day. I'm betting you don't have a clue what Ypsi is about these days.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:09 a.m.

It is also they did not respect the use they did get from the property, if surrounding residents are saying they left things "a mess".

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:11 a.m.

Correction: It is apparent they did not respect the property either. The article states that residents complained about them leaving it "a mess"

Joe Hood

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:01 a.m.

The fence is going to look ugly, restrictive and be constantly vandalized. It'll be like having our own piece of Detroit right here in Ann Arbor. I wish there was a better option, maybe an old man with a shotgun and a dog, just to scare the hell out of the local kids.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:54 a.m.

I also do not want to hear a bunch of you whining, leftists softies out here complaining. They got subsidized housing. Guess on who's dime? That is right, the taxpayers! I pay roughly $150,000 PER YEAR in assorted taxes. So, yes, I can complain a little bit.

Stupid Hick

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

"I remember my parents, siblings and myself eating in a soup kitchen because my dad lost his job, and my mom was taking care of us" Clearly if your parents could not pay for the soup, you and your siblings deserved to starve.

Michigan Man

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

Abe - Nice work! I also like big bank accounts. Cool when someone jumps through that window of opportunity all Americans have and makes good!


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 11:05 a.m.

Guess what? We don't want to hear whining from someone paying their taxes like they're supposed to be. Can we get you a teabag? And don't sell yourself short - you are complaining a lot more than a "little bit".

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:04 a.m.

I am not "rich", but am financially secure. I grew up very, very poor. I worked my way out of it. I worked 3 jobs when I was 19 to put myself through school. When I needed help, I asked. I did not hold up cardboard signs or need something along the lines of "tent city". I remember my parents, siblings and myself eating in a soup kitchen because my dad lost his job, and my mom was taking care of us. I wore the same clothes, and some days, we actually went hungry. I have been on both sides of the fence. There is help out there, and if someone truly wants help, as well as to better themselves - It can be done. It will not be easy. But it can be done. You just have to want a better life. There are other paths then the need for a Camp Take Notice. Anyone with common sense knows this to be true.

Carla Wells

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 3:01 a.m.

Actually, it shouldn't matter if you are rich or not. There is A LOT of HELP out there. You just have to follow most of us have to. Trust me, I don't always want to go to work/pay taxes/clean up my yard etc. but I do so that I (and my family) can have a better life. It is a choice. Period.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:12 a.m.

Abe, you must be really rich to pay that much in taxes.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

Looks like a free speech zone now.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

Yes. it is.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

This is good news! This should have been done a long time ago. There is PLENTY of help out there if someone needs it. Sure, you may have to follow some guidelines ie; paperwork, seek work, no alcohol, no drugs...etc. Camp Take Notice was for folks who were in need, but it was never designated as a place for the "tenants" who were there. Most of them chose not to better themselves. Believe it or not, even during our not so good economy - Food, clothing and shelter is available! There is a huge difference in the homeless who are that way because they choose to use drugs, drink or anything else EXCEPT try to get out of that situation and the homeless mom and dad who lost their jobs and are out filling out the proper paperwork, meeting with case workers, filling out resume's and applications. Good riddance to "Camp Take Notice". It was never theirs to begin with.

Carla Wells

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:58 a.m.

Agree. I live in the area and have spoken to several people about what options the camp notice residents have. There is ample help out there, but many CHOOSE this life because they won't/can't follow the rules for help.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:47 a.m.

And to add - No matter how bad things are. No matter what! There is no reason for anyone to hold a sign at the end of a freeway exit, hold up a cardboard signs at the red light or need a place like Camp Take Notice. If so, either you are a substance abuser, or you want something for nothing AND you really do not want help.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

Is it me, or are these stories on camp take notice becoming very tiresome?


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Nope. Just saw another headline and made the comment. Never read the story, just tired of seeing them.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 11:55 a.m.

Is somebody forcing you to read them?


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

I guess trespassing is a sexier story than I thought.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

It's you


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

I wish there was a choice of: Don't build it, now they might move into my back yard.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

I wonder how many future fences will need to be erected to keep out "undesirables". Maybe start fencing off individual homes of people who don't "fit in", or whole neighborhoods... Per usual, the poll has no choice for many folks.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

Why are we fencing out our own citizens, we should be taking this fence and putting it on the Mexican border.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

maybe we should just tolerate whoever the hell wants to live here... wasn't this country founded on freedom?? We're poisoning the planet with our little spoiled american brats anyways... who cares if anyone else wants to come to this awful country?


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

relax sparty, I was joking, I do though think a fence would restrict regular people trying to cross for a better life from having to pay a "guide" to take them across, these crossings are dangerous, people are mugged, raped, beaten, murdered or dumped and/or extorted when they do get here if they do make it, women and children try to make this journey, many do not have protection from the elements, or water. There are trees out in the desert that are covered in panties as a warning of rape zones. and actually I said an electric fence, I didn't specify it would be electricfied! got to keep the el chupacabra out.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

Ah, now an electric fence. Nice. Hippity hop. How about burning people alive if they attempt to cross the border illegally? Machine guns? Hot tar? I know, I know, machete! Yeay! Even Sen Rubio says he would cross the border illegally if he needed to in order to provide for his family. Let's either make him your VP, or electrify him!


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

an electric fence


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : midnight

Great way to spend our tax dollars. They can just move to a different location. We're also giving them housing on the taxayers dime as it is. Add it to the debts being accumulated at every level of government. We're being ruled by fools who are poor stewards of our hard earned cash


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

Wow we can do all this at my expense to keep citizens of this country out of the area but we can't stop the illegals that get my money for clothes ,food-stamps and welfare as well as small business loans ! betting the price is over a half a mil


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

How much would you want to bet?

Ricardo Queso

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:21 p.m.

Hmm... Sleeping in a tent in 95 degree heat or an air conditioned rent free apartment?

Kelly Loe

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

What's to stop people from choosing another camp area? What then? Another fence? Might as well erect an 8 foot fence around all of Ann Arbor.....Welcome to the land of heartless....


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.

It's practice for future fences...............

Ron Granger

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

If only we could fence all the public land to keep non-property owners off it. And the lakes. Let's fence the lakes. How ironic that we can fence our local lands to keep citizens off it, but cannot fence the borders.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.



Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

hoo dang. MURICA'

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

If these people can't get a job, I just have one piece of advice: get a job. I just love the way some folks think they can lump all homeless people together and keep acting as though none of them has a real problem outside of a lazy attitude. When bad times come to you folks, enjoy the struggle. Having a good job so you can work your ... off and live well is great. Without that job, where would you be? Have a little compassion, for crying out loud.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 11:04 a.m.

Mr. Billy Bob Schwartz why don't you just open your house for the homeless and let them live with you.. Even better open your garage and let them live in your yard then you tell me how you would like that.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:32 a.m.

So, Billy Bob Schwartz, what do you do and what have you done to help? Do you march down main street filling the change cups? Do you hand over a $5 spot when you are sitting at the end of that exit ramp? Do you write check to the S.O.S? Tell us what how you show "a little compassion"............ For crying out loud.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:55 a.m.

Most places of employment require a street address. If you are homeless and have none, what are you going to do? YOU have a little compassion for crying out loud. I'm glad you got three meals a day, had a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.

There! Just goes to show you that the old adage still solves everyone's problems.... Out O Sight, Out O Mind.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

Unlikely a final solution. An 8 foot fence cannot keep out someone that is determined. The rent subsidy should be portable enabling the recipient to live anywhere in the area. Typically they are based on household size and income. They are not meant to pay the entire amount of rent. Also, once received an annual requalifying takes place. How about some clarification regarding the subsidies they are receiving.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

Hop the fence - Go to jail. Simple.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

"The rent subsidy should be portable enabling the recipient to live anywhere in the area." Or out of the area!


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

Who is paying for this fence?


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 11:02 a.m.

The residents of Scio Township who paid taxes and want it up that who. I want to see my taxes finally go to something that the local residents want also.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

@Michigan Reader: you are being sarcastic, right? please say you are....


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

@michigan reader - the state is a different entity than the taxpayers???? They work for us, not the other way around. We fund them. The money from employers is then taxed/taken from our paychecks and given to the state. It's hard for me to fathom your reasoning. We're supposed to be giving the power to the government not them taking it from us. Are you from a different country? I'm asking because I'm not following your reasoning

Michigan Reader

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

@Hans Masing--The state of Michigan is a different entity than the citizens. Actually, the citizens get their money from their employers, so maybe THEY are paying for it. How far back do you want to go? The employers get their money from their customers, so maybe THEY'RE paying for it. I draw the line between the taxpayer and the state, so, the state is paying for with the state's OWN money.

Hans Masing

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

You are! The taxpayer!


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

Genius. Spend tens of thousands of dollars on a fence that can be circumvented with a $12 bolt cutter.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

I was thinking the same thing. The fence will keep honest people out.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

Ridiculous art and pointless fences... ann arbor really knows where to dump it's money. Burning it would be a lot easier.

Corn Dog

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

I would positively REFUSE to camp in a place that's been planted with poison ivy... takes care of derelicts who want to relieve themselves in your yard, too.

Carla Wells

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:56 a.m.

If they can afford drugs and alcohol they can afford the $12 bolt cutter.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

Fine - how about a pair of $3 wire cutters?


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

I don't mean to offend anyone but $12 could be a lot for somebody in this position.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

So, am I to understand from this blog, that the homeless will be given one month's rent? What is the amount? It is darned expensive to rent in Ann Arbor and the surrounding areas. After their month is up...then what? There are a lot of unanswered questions here.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 5:42 a.m.

This is the pertinent paragraph from the earlier article to which you are directed by the "one year's rent" link in the above article: Sally Harrison, director of the rental assistance and homeless solutions division of MSHDA, said subsidies for 40 households will be made available to Camp Take Notice residents and the program will be available for one year. She clarified that a "household" could be single- or multiple-person living arrangement. The cap for the subsidy - based on the standard of living in the dwelling's location as well as other factors such as how many people reside in the unit - in Ann Arbor is roughly $750 for a single bedroom apartment and around $950 for a two-bedroom.

martini man

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:36 a.m.

After the one year of free rent is used up ..many will just squat and wait to be evicted.This takes time and legal procedures, and they know how to milk it to the max.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

1. This is not a "blog." This is a "news article." 2. It clearly states...with a LINK even...that they are being given one YEAR'S rent.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

read the article a little better ... it is 1 years rent ... what do i have to do to get free rent for 1 year ...


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

Interesting, as most zoning ordinances only allow a six foot fence.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

The ordinances only apply to the land under the control of the local govt. State law applies on state lands.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

So the state government doesn't have follow the same rules they made & we all have to follow or else

Michigan Reader

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:17 p.m.

dconkey--I may be wrong on this, but I don't think the state government is bound by ordinances.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

Yeah, what? Horrible idea. Not necessary at all. Now the snarky local residents who complained about polite homeless folks living harmlessly hidden in the woods in their neighborhood can stare at an ugly fence instead. Should be nice and rusty within a few years.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

Wow! What a load of responses, thanks folks. So these people didn't live on MDOT land? They lived right in your backyards!?!? Wow! We need to get this story, and every other single one, updated correctly. My parents live just down the road from here, where I also lived during high school. This area is my old stomping grounds. I still visit my parents at least every week and drive by here very often. The only thing I EVER noticed was the occasional car or person at the bus stop, and the barely visible trail leading into the woods. I just don't understand how this could have affected you all so horribly. They were hidden from view, just trying to live. You snarky folks must have seen how many people demonstrated their SUPPORT of this camp. That's called compassion. Try some out, it's good for the soul.


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 11 a.m.

ROSS let me guess you don't live near this Camp do you. Trust me I know for a fact that everyone including me and all the residents that signed the petition that live in the area will be glad to live with the fence. We will all be happy to drive by and only have to see the fence.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 4:46 a.m.

Nobody is stopping you from inviting them to sleep and camp in YOUR backyard! Have you invited any of them to come on your property, pitch a tent, urinate and defecate, and litter on your land. The land you pay summer, winter taxes, maintenance, insurance...etc. Have you done that yet? If not, would you have a problem letting them?

Jack Campbell

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:48 a.m.

Yep nothing wrong with 60+ people camping in your back yard without sanitation. I'm sure you would welcome that in your area!

martini man

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 2:33 a.m.

Oh puh-leeze


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

I guess being a snarky local resident, employed and housed mind you, guess ill have to get out the wd-40 and spray er down( fence). Thanks for pointing that out! Its too bad we dont get the credit for busting our a.. to get what we have, sorry your so jealous and obviously commenting on an issue where you dont live.....( psst how many rusty fences do you have?)


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

That's too bad. Now that the trails are all cleaned up in there I thought it would make a nice place to mountain bike or hike. It is our state land, after all.