Protests Erupt During Homeless Eviction

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A vacant lot that was filled with about 30 homeless people is clear Thursday night, after the city forced them to move off the private property.

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That encampment was located on the corner of Ventura and F Street and is now fenced in.

A U-Haul truck pulled up to the corner of Venture and F Street several hours after homeless people were forced to leave the property. Many loaded up with their belongings, only to be dropped off at "G" and Railroad Avenue. They made their way inside of a locked gate for what could be the next encampment area.

"This property is owned by the city originally designed for people who don't have homes. We're just putting it to good use," said homeless advocate Rick Morse.

Because of trespassing issues and eviction notices served in early December, this camp was shut down Thursday morning.

"We have property owners who want their property back sidewalk that's not accessible by the public," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

The city and county have $4.7 million dollars dedicated to homeless prevention. Thursday, the City Housing Authority received signatures from nearly 120 people interested in permanent housing. However in two months, only twelve people have been placed in housing.

"A large number of individuals who are seeking this assistance who are seeing they have to pick up the phone and make the appointment," said Greg Barfield with the City of Fresno.

Douglas Jackson is taking advantage of the help. He's breaking down his tent for a permanent roof over his head. "Those of us who have the energy, ambition and desire to obtain the assistance we need it's out there."

Just hours after the move, Action News saw the beginnings of a second camp at Mono and G Street.

City officials say they are looking for a long term solution the homeless issue, but some in the homeless community say it's difficult to get housing because they are required to provide documents like a birth certificate, California I.D., and Social Security cards first.

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