Residents in a northeast Waterloo community say a nearby encampment as a point of concern, but city officials admit a solution will take time.

The homeless encampment is located on city property in a natural area near Lexington Road and Weber Street.

“We all need to be concerned about this. For us and for them – this is no way to live, and we understand that,” said one resident who lives nearby.

There is visible debris in the area, and both the city and residents told CTV there have been fires.

“That’s my big concern after the last one, and it was big watching the flames 30 to 40 feet in the area. I don’t sleep very well now. I am constantly getting up and looking out the window making sure there are no flames,” said the resident.

Those who live near the encampment said they’re frustrated and are asking the city to do something.

“There seems to be a lack of coordination between everyone involved,” said another nearby resident who called the city out for “lack of action.”

But city officials said they’re working on it.

“We’ve engaged them with some outreach services, and we are certainly providing that compassionate, supportive approach as we try to find them a more suitable housing alternative,” said Nicole Papke, director of municipal enforcement in Waterloo.

The city is asking residents to be patient.

“These situations are not unique to the city of Waterloo,” said Papke. “We have seen it throughout the region, and it really does take time to engage all of our partners and assist these people living in the unfortunate situations.”

Ward 4 councilor Diane Freeman has been coordinating with community members and the city. She said she understands the frustrations but said compassion remains key.

“We have to be compassionate towards people who find themselves living unsheltered and that they are people,” Freeman said.

The city told CTV crews are working to keep the site clean and have removed some unwanted debris.

Officials added that they are working with residents to keep fires under control but reminds the public that it could take more time as they work to find a suitable housing alternative.