Cleaned up homeless camp in National City
NATIONAL CITY, Calif .– Teams from Caltrans spent Friday morning clearing a large homeless encampment along I-805 near the 16th Street Bridge in National City.
There were around 75 to 100 people living in the camp last year, which was located on state property maintained by Caltrans, according to the national town’s mayor, Alejandra Sotelo-Solis.
“People think it’s our responsibility, (that) the city has jurisdiction,” Sotelo-Solis said. “We went in and did some cleanups, but we can’t move. It’s Caltrans. We cannot delete. “
With pandemic restrictions in place for over a year, no action has been taken. It was until earlier this week when Caltrans told people to leave the illegal encampment.
Council member Ron Morrison said he was working with the homeless in the camp and spoke to some of the people as they left on Friday.
“One said, ‘You kept warning us that this was going to happen. It’s our fault. We continued to bring in all the garbage, ”Morrison said.
Sotelo-Solis said the location posed a risk to the safety of homeless people and nearby residents. City leaders say services are available to the homeless. Police told FOX 5 that many camp members refused these services.
Roberto Zapata, who lives in the area, said the neighbors faced many problems related to the camp. He is happy to see it disappear.
“You can see them walking around looking for things to steal,” Zapata said. “They didn’t buy any of this stuff. They go around the houses. Everything they see in the front yard, they come and take. It is a free program for everyone. “
But local homeless advocate Michael McConnell argues eviction isn’t really a solution.
“Let’s get people into housing with the services they need,” McConnell said. “They didn’t do it here. They haven’t made a serious attempt here to get people out of homelessness. It is not a solution and it is a waste of money. “
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