CLIFTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey community is trying something new. It is installing bathrooms for homeless people.
But this new initiative is getting mixed reviews from some residents.
CBS2 saw one port-a-potty being cleaned out Tuesday as a public service, part of a new program to give people with no place to go in Clifton somewhere to use the restroom, Clark Fouraker reported.
“Of course, with the streets there are no bathrooms. They do utilize some of the businesses, but then the business owners get disgruntled and want us to move them along,” City Manager Dominick Villano said.
Villano said a downtown civic group asked for the city’s help earlier this year. He said there’s a rising number of homeless in the community, and neighbors had complained about waste in public.
“There has been problems like that because we have a lot of people who drink and then they tend to like wander in the parking lots or by the properties and they just do their business. So, it would help. It’s not going to be a bad idea,” neighbor Paul Chavis said.
In one of the city’s municipal lots, officials placed one of the port-a-potties in the corner, they said out of the way of traffic but close enough to the homeless population so they can use them, Fouraker reported.
“I’d rather see them go in there than in the fields over there,” neighbor Dominic Barcia said.
The city said it has received a rush of comments about the portable bathrooms, which are considered a temporary solution.
“I’ve gotten some upset neighbors that are why are you doing this, because it’s going to attract more. We’ve had other residents say it’s a good thing,” Villano said.
The city has also hired a social worker who is working to count and identify other needs among the homeless population.
“If it helps, I don’t know. Maybe if they needed to go somewhere, there’s a potty somewhere, then maybe it can help them,” said Alfredo Costa of Botany Village Pizza.
City leaders said in efforts to curb the problem, they’re willing to install more port-a-potties in areas with growing homeless populations.
The city initially installed two bathrooms, but removed one after it had been knocked over. They’re being paid for through the local health department’s budget.