Homeless Off to New Start Despite Complaint

FRESNO, Calif. But this time -- one homeless advocate is complaining about the steps the city is taking to do so.

This move has already been tough for some but the city said it is a step to solving chronic homelessness.

This is Michael's new home…a tent with blankets and a few books inside to keep his mind off the cold. "Basically I want to do is stay warm and try to get a job," he said.

For the last three months he lived here on F Street and Ventura. That all changed Thursday when police cleared out the encampment. The property owners wanted squatters gone.

"I'm an old guy and this wore me out. I moved from that spot over to a holding spot to come down here and we unloaded the last trailer and said we couldn't stay over there," said Michael.

Homeless advocate Rick Morse helped Michael and several dozen other homeless people relocate here without the city's knowledge. But neighbors complained and police quickly escorted everyone out again.

"Most of the folks that I have talked to this morning who used to be at Ventura and F have landed now at California and G. This 'Hill' as they call it," said Fresno's Homeless Prevention director Gregory Barfield.

Barfield's already helped place more than one-hundred down and out residents in homes and spent much of Friday morning transporting this displaced group to the housing authority.

Barfield: "There's just no excuse why a person goes from being housed to pulling out a tent."

But not everyone thinks this city is doing a good job with this relocation effort.

Morse: "Right now the city of Fresno should have social workers out here scouting the city for these people instead of me. The city of Fresno displaced these people from their homes. It wasn't a pile of trash out there."

Morse spent his time Friday afternoon making sure everyone made it to their appointment with the Housing Authority. "I was told to take them down there and they would get their vouchers so they would have a place to stay tonight so they wouldn't have to be here," he said.

Greg Barfield said he did not ask Morse to help him. Furthermore Barfield claimed Morse's efforts are confusing these people and hindering efforts to get them into homes.

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