Former school campus becomes tent city as Mississippi neighborhood's homeless population reaches crisis point

Mississippi residents say their quiet neighborhood has become a “highway for the homeless” as the grounds of a nearby former school campus transform into a bustling tent city.

“We used to see maybe three or four transient homeless people in the neighborhood, but now there’s well over 100,” Patrick Murphy, a suburban Biloxi resident, told “Fox & Friends First” on Tuesday.

The Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, which owns the school grounds, has allowed the homeless to reside in the area for years, according to fed-up local residents.

Murphy told local news that the community has lost its sidewalks and streets. Kids can’t play outside anymore and grandchildren no longer want to visit, he continued.

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In this photo taken by Patrick Murphy, tents are visible at a former school property in Biloxi, Miss. (Patrick Murphy/Fox & Friends First)

“We just lost our neighborhood,” he added.

Speaking to Fox News’ Todd Piro, Murphy spelled out the extent of the crisis: “We’ve seen an enormous swell of homeless people up and down our street. There is a mission that offers services about a block from us and then an old Catholic high school that is owned by the diocese is offering services, so we’re kind of that little two blocks right between them…” he said.

Mental illness, poverty, drugs and alcohol are just a few takeaways. Murphy says “very few” are respectful of neighborhood residents and the community wants to be a part of the solution.

“It seems like the problem is getting worse, and it’s getting worse for us, but, we’re really looking for the solution and working together with everybody, here in the community that’s a part of this project,” he said.

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A map shows the geographical makeup of the neighborhood, which encompasses the “highway for the homeless.” (Fox & Friends First/Screengrab)

“Instead of just bombarding the little bit of a neighborhood that is here with the problem of the homeless, we have to do something about it. We have to get attention. They do need our help, but we have to be careful about how we do that because we’re creating other problems.”

Neighborhood residents penned their concerns to the diocese in a three-page letter, Biloxi outlet WLOX reported. Murphy said the move came after receiving no contact from them regarding the situation.

“Fortunately, it’s gotten other exposure besides the diocese, but they still have not yet contacted anyone here in the neighborhood.”

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Trash is visible on the ground in this photo taken from the neighborhood. (Patrick Murphy/Fox & Friends First)

Another neighborhood resident, Joyce Dunnell, told WLOX that the homeless are coming by houses, looking in windows and even going so far as to knock on doors and ask for items like cigarettes or for access to use a bathroom.

“I lost a renter after three years because she felt unsafe, and she is a single parent,” they told the outlet.

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Taylor Penley is an associate editor with Fox News.

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