CLOVIS – From above, a hole in the ground near a New Mexico park may not look out of the ordinary, but down below is a man-made tunnel that a Clovis resident calls home.
Homelessness drove Sean Heron, 43, to seek shelter underground, he said.
He began digging the hole that was initially meant to be a place where he could keep his belongings in February 2017, the Eastern New Mexico News reported.
The hole, located behind a recreational baseball field, is now large enough to hold a sleeping area and his belongings and has a makeshift closet and drawer space.
The entrance is marked by a tree stump with a rope tied to it for support on your way down to the burrow.
After living underground for several months, Heron said he has gotten used to his neighbors, the resident prairie dogs.
“They’re the best neighbors you could ever have, if they like you,” he said. “They’re my friends. They alert me when other people come around.”
Heron has been homeless for about a year, after falling on hard times. He lost his job and his home while recovering from an injury, he said.
Authorities learned about Heron’s underground home earlier this month after people who explored the space posted videos of it online.
The news of a man living underground has caused concern to nearby homeowners.
The underground home is on private property owned by Dr. Ali Ghaffari, who has been informed about Heron’s presence, police said.
Ghaffari told the Clovis newspaper that he has seen a video of Heron’s hole and is not in a rush to ask to Heron to fill the hole and leave his property. Instead, he hopes that community members will give Heron assistance.
“I’d really like to help him somehow … and that’s all we are here for,” he said. “We have one of our fellow citizens living like that, there really should be something Clovis can do.”
Heron hopes to land a job doing manual labor by the summer and live above ground again.
“I don’t plan on staying here the rest of my life,” he said.