WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Tent cities aren't uncommon in Western Massachusetts and you do have rights if they end up on your property.
The 22News I-Team looked into this after a viewer discovered people living near their property.
The Western Massachusetts homeless community will find all sorts of ways to survive the winter. They ask for money on street corners and crowd shelters while others simply pitch a tent.
"It's not bad down here. I got my stove in the tent doing my cooking and everything," said one man who lives in a tent but wanted to remain anonymous.
They're called tent cities and a 22News I-Team investigation found they're popping up in communities all over Western Massachusetts.
We discovered tent communities in Chicopee, Springfield and West Springfield and experts say there are plenty more out there.
"We think there's a lot more people than that , you just won't find them all," said Rosemary Surdyka.
Surdyka is a nurse who's job is to try and find them and see if she can help them.
"We're really concerned about frost bite, people dying out there."
West Springfield Police Chief Ronald Campurciani says he's aware of the camps in Westside and finds they try to live quietly.
"They're not really causing problems, they just want to live and be left alone."
Police say the problem isn't that they're out there, it's that they're so secluded, when there is an emergency, the police have a hard time getting to them.
" We've had officers hurt literally trying to carry people out of these areas that they're in," Campurciani said.
Chief Campurciani says as long as they're not bothering anyone, police leave them alone.
Springfield's Brandon Moser told the I-Team he's grateful he's found a living space that's off the beaten path and doesn't bother nearby businesses.
" I don't want to burden people too much, you know what I mean," Moser said.
He, like another man, are working to find permanent housing.
"The hard part is coming up with the money."
They all say this is isn't an ideal situation but they prefer this over shelters and they're will to play by the rules to stay there.
"As long as we don't do anything stupid you know and we don't harass people or go around acting obnoxious then they leave us be, as long as we mind our own then they mind their own pretty much," Moser added.
Chief Campurciani says businesses and property owners have rights too.
If someone is trespassing or causing a problem, you should let police know so they can talk to them or ask them to relocate.