Erie's Homeless Living in Tent City - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Erie's Homeless Living in Tent City

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There's a community, not far from Downtown Erie, that many people may not know exists. It's a tent city, built by the homeless. Dozens of people live there, and their numbers are growing.

It's located in a wooded area, near the railroad tracks at 14th and Chestnut. Just walk a few steps down one of the many paths, and you can see the tents..

"This is one of seven camps. They're all across the Erie area," says Mark Hurta.

Home, for Hurta, is a wood frame, covered with plastic tarp.  Underneath the tarp is a tent. He has his dog, Shadow, for company. He's growing tomatoes for future meals. Hurta has little money, what he does have are a lot of neighbors.

"There's 15 in this triangle. But down farther, I don't know how many.  There's tent, after tent, after tent," he said.

The residents of Tent City aren't all from Erie. They come from all over the country. To get here, all they did was follow the railroad tracks.

"They're from Ohio, Erie, out west. They're from all over," says Hurta. "This is a huge migration. They're from all those states. All over the place. They're traveling up the tracks, down the interstate," he said.

Thousands of people drive by the 14th and Chestnut area every day and most of them probably do not know Tent City exists. It's been around for many years. Emergency crews call it by name.

The residents of Tent City would rather be in a comfortable bed at one of the city's shelters, such as the City Mission. But, there is no room.

"Primarily, most of our beds are full. In addition to that, we are often putting men on cots, 8-10 each night in our dining room, as well. Even during the summer months," says Pastor Rick Crocker, of the Erie City Mission.

Even as the population grows at Tent City, there's a feeling of hope, not despair.  Just about every tent displays an American flag, and at one tent, there's a message that things, someday, will be better.  A sheet of cardboard nailed to the tent reads, "In God We Trust."










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