Debate over homeless continues at Fresno City Hall

September 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The City of Fresno won praise for tearing down the homeless camps around Downtown Fresno.

"We gave you thumbs up when you cleaned it up. We finally said the City of Fresno was listening to the residents of Southwest Fresno," Reverend Melvin Whittle said.

Whittle and contingents of residents from Southwest Fresno are concerned about statements like this from homeless advocate Jerry Bell, "I'm here to talk about solutions, specially the solution of safe and legal campgrounds."

The homeless shanties are gone but the folks who lived in them are still there. Some want the City of Fresno to build them a new safe camp. But residents of West Fresno say they do not want them in their neighborhood.

"Find a lot on Shaw, find a lot on Herndon, find it somewhere else but you will not and we will not allow you to allow another encampment to come up in our community. " Whittle said.

So far city leaders have made it clear they do not want to provide campgrounds for the homeless anywhere. But the tearing down of the homeless camps has spread homeless throughout the city.

"I see people in the alleys that I didn't see before, in the afternoons I see people on the streets, so the Downtown problem is being shifted into the northern neighborhoods." J. B. McCubbon said.

City Council Member Oliver Baines told the concerned citizens the city is doing all it can and urged them to take their complaints to Fresno County, which is charged by the state with taking care of the indigent.

"I don't know if you all realize we don't have the resources to solve homelessness," Baines said.

Despite that the City Council is inviting those with solutions to the city's homeless problem to attend a homeless workshop at city hall on Sept. 26.


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