Shanty centers homeless camp

Tribune Chronicle

Tucked in the woods along the winding Mahoning River in Mahoning County is this shanty, the centerpiece of a homeless camp.

The camp, always populated by at least one person – the man who built the structure – has been in this location for about a decade. The building has been there for about two years.

”It’s more sophisticated than any camp we know,” said Diane Baytosh, team leader with the PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness) program at Help Hotline in Mahoning County.

The building, partially constructed of plywood, uses a large blue tarp for its roof and appears to have a fully functioning fireplace.

Although the resident wasn’t there when visited Thursday by Baytosh, PATH outreach worker Jim Beach and the Tribune Chronicle, Baytosh said the building is framed with wood two-by-fours and has rafters. Inside, there is a bed and open fireplace, Beach said.

There’s also room below that contains extra bunks.

Other camps in Mahoning and in Trumbull County aren’t as elaborate. Most are made of tents or partial buildings.

Around the area is quite a bit of junk, including lawn furniture, a stroller, what looked to be an old booth from a restaurant, a couple wheelbarrows, a commode and lots of beer cans