No long term solutions for Fresno homeless

FRESNO, Calif.

Residents of a Downtown Fresno neighborhood have endured homeless encampments off and on for years and no one seems to have a long-term solution.

The homeowners on "F" and Ventura Street in Downtown Fresno first encountered what were called 'hobos' several decades ago.

Today tent cities or homeless encampments pop up every few months.

City crews come in and move the homeless out and clean the sidewalks but it isn't long before the tents go back up. Although none of the residents would speak with us on camera not a week goes by that they don't call City Hall.

Greg Barfield, Fresno's Homeless Prevention and Policy manager says, "they've gotta deal with this every single day. There's many times throughout the week that I might hear from all of them or some of them. We try to do everything we can to respond."

Greg Barfield says he tries to connect the homeless with housing or services but it's not always possible. The money and the services aren't always available but sometimes, he says, the homeless don't want to leave.

Nate Martin has been here since November before that he lived in the Village of Hope next to the Poverello House.

He says he was kicked out because he didn't follow the rules. So he pitched a tent on "F" Street.

"It seems they just make up too many rules as they go along - rather than put it down in writing. This person has that rule and it's ridiculous," Nate Martin said.

"Part of the problem is those who remain in this area - remain so by choice," Captain Greg Garner of the Southeast Policing District said.

Captain garner says he understands the frustration of residents but he says it's a social problem, not a legal one. A problem he doesn't have a solution for.

As for Nate, he says he too understands the neighbors' frustration. He wishes he weren't living on the street either.

"I totally understand, I totally understand with all due respect… (but you're not moving?) Where is there to go?" Nate said.

It's a question the police, the city and residents may have to grapple with for some time. The city's attempt to end chronic homelessness will have to continue without Greg Barfield in the future.

Fresno's Homeless Prevention and Policy Manager is moving on to be chief of staff for Councilmember Oliver Baines starting in March.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin has already begun a nationwide search for Barfield's replacement.

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