Homeless in Freeport

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Last summer we told you about an apartment building the city of Freeport shut down due to code violations. The building was home for many of the city's down and out. 23 News reporter Erica Hurtt revisited the building and takes a look at what's happened to many of its former residents.

As the temperatures drop, more and more of Freeport's homeless are showing up at the former apartment building owned by Tim Burns.

"I still see the same one over and over and I ask why," says Burns.

Georgina is one of the ones who keeps coming back, looking for help from Tim Burns, from anyone.

When asked, “What was it like when you lost your home here?” Georgina says, "It was like an avalanche."

An avalanche Georgina and others can't dig out from. The city of Freeport shut down the building for various code violations last summer. Burns says it was home to many like Georgina who can't afford traditional types of housing and can't find help from the city.

"Her caseworker is calling me asking to help find her an apartment. I mean, what's her job?" adds Burns.

The Freeport Area Church Cooperation helps many of the city's homeless. It runs the only shelter and one of the few pantries for Stephenson and Jo Davis Counties. The group's executive director says demand is running high and cuts to funding at all levels aren't helping.

"Honestly we'll probably never have enough services available. We try to do the best we can with the monies we have. It seems that all of our social service agencies are finding it more difficult to continue basic services," says Dennis Bokemeier, Executive Director of the Freeport Area Church Cooperative.

For now, Tim Burns tries to help whomever he can but there's little he can do without his building. Burns says he's also seen an increase in vandalism since the city shutdown the apartment. He plans to sell the building and could have an offer later this week.