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Supporters work to find place for homeless man some don't want on main road in Lake Orion

Posted: 7:19 PM, Jul 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-16 20:00:19-04

LAKE ORION, Mich. (WXYZ) — Bruce Gertz has been homeless in the Lake Orion area for nearly 20 years. And the 65-year-old has received a lot of support along the way.

But recently Gertz moved his bike and other belongings to a bench along M-24 and that's led to some resident complaints with village officials.

"I'm told I'm not doing anything wrong," said Gertz.

Police agree that Gertz has been keeping his belongings tidy and disposing of garbage properly.

But Councilman Ray Hammond recently asked police what could be done about relocating Gertz, saying they need a plan to do away with "public camping" before Gertz expands his zone or has friends joining him.

One of Gertz's biggest supporters has been Kimberly Dunn. A couple years ago, she started a GoFundMe account for Gertz that raised about $5,000 so that he could stay in a hotel during cold weather. She also started the Facebook page "Bruce of Orion."

Dunn told 7 Action News, "He's been here a lot longer than people who complain about him."

Dunn has joined police officials and other Gertz supporters in working to find some type of shelter for him at another location because Gertz will not go to a shelter.

Gertz said he doesn't want to start collecting Social Security for another five years so his checks will be larger.

Until then, Gertz seems content to live they way he's lived for the last two decades.

Dunn and others are just hoping to make his life a little easier along the way.

Police Chief Jerry Narsh told 7 Action News that officers have always looked out for Gertz and they will continue to make sure he abides by the law while making sure he's safe.

Chief Narsh said Gertz just wants to live outside and be left alone.