I-Team 8

Owner of Shapiro’s Delicatessen takes control of mess left by homeless people

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The interstate overpass at South Meridian Street has provided shelter for dozens of homeless people over the years.

In the past several months, human waste and debris has covered the underside of the bridge.

“If you want the city to go to hell, just leave it alone, let the weeds grow up, the trash accumulate, and people will stop coming,” said Brian Shapiro, the owner of Shapiro’s Delicatessen.

Shapiro has had enough of the trash, human waste and urine under this South Meridian bridge.

The Old Southside Neighborhood Association has cleaned up in the past, but the recent mess was more than the volunteers could handle.

“Some of the homeless were relocated, and it was just a mess. The fences are broken. It just looks terrible and as we try to redevelop this area. People want to be safe. They don’t want to be harassed. They don’t want to walk into peoples feces and urine. They don’t want to walk into needles,” Shapiro said.

He hired a local handyman to clean out all the old bedding, waste, drug paraphernalia and trash.

Indiana Department of Transportation has been working on this section of the interstate. The state has an agreement with a homeless shelter to move bridge dwellers to a safe location during construction.

However, some of the homeless had returned and left a mess.

Dennis Burton, an Old Southside business owner, told News 8 that the mess is better at times.

“At times, it has gotten really bad. Brian Shapiro has taken a crew down there numerous times and sort of cleaned it up,” Burton said.

When the INDOT construction is over, the neighborhood is expecting the homeless to return along with the mess.

“Sometimes you have to put your foot down and say we are going to clean it up,” Shapiro said.

To report a concern to INDOT, click here.


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