A tent filled with tarps from a dismantled canopy

A tent filled with tarps from a dismantled canopy in the woods near the boundary of Southern Pines and Aberdeen. (Photograph by JAYMIE BAXLEY/The Pilot)

Nicholas Cowley was hauling his possessions from the woods when the temperature climbed to 95 degrees on Saturday, but he couldn’t let the heat slow him down.

Police had imposed a deadline for Cowley and the other members of a homeless encampment behind the Center Park shopping plaza in Aberdeen. They were given 24 hours to tear down their tents and vacate the woods.

Overhead Encampment

Overhead view of the woods where the encampment was located. (Image via Google Earth)

Bible at Encampment

The King James version of the Bible sits on a lawn chair in an Aberdeen homeless encampment on May 25, 2019. (Photograph by JAYMIE BAXLEY/The Pilot)


Jaymie Baxley is an award-winning reporter covering public health, social issues and general news for The Pilot. He worked previously at The Robesonian in Lumberton and at The Daily Courier in Forest City.

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(3) comments

What would be of interest, is that The Pilot do a investigative reporting article on just and why these people are homeless. Is it self induced by being on drugs, lack of initiative, or just too lazy to work. A local journalist should interview these individuals, one that reveals how they arrived at this point in their lives. Some may have a opportunity to resume a normal life if given employment, but for those who just choose to live as transient vagabonds on other peoples property, well I don't see where Overton's have done anything wrong when telling them, several times to leave. Seattle is a good example as to why we need to purge this area of the homeless, either find them a job opportunities, which are in abundance locally, help find them a place to live, and the chance to gain their lives back, if they do not comply, make an attempt to advance their position in life, then they will be viewed as no more than vagrants and should be dealt with in that way, induced to move on. Some prefer this vagabond lifestyle, but they should relocate where that lifestyle is an accepted way of life, Oregon, Washington, etc. If there is disagreement here, please leave your name and address, it will be forwarded to those in need.

Brenda Burt

These folks have been offered jobs but they refuse to work, have been offered housing, but refuse, several organizations have tried to help them. They were allowed to stay on that property until they started causing problems...and one of them beat his girlfriend and she had had him Arrested. Why work when you have folks feeding you, clothing you and giving you money.

We have upwards of 30 million illegal aliens in our country and most find work, although they should not be here in the first place. Industry and agriculture seeks people for entry level jobs and will teach skills if people are punctual and work hard. The Bible is an excellent guide to self-improvement.

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