Visalia Code Enforcement begins picking up shopping carts


A new city ordinance in Visalia is banning shopping carts from public parks, alleyways and other public places in an effort to reduce blight and eliminate trash on city property.

Tracy Robertshaw with the Visalia Code Enforcement explained, "When you're driving through the city that's really not the what we're trying to project that Visalia is all about and it'll be better for the whole community if they're picked up and taken to the stores."

For the homeless, the new city law meant giving up the main way they store their belongings or recyclables.

Kevin MacDonald said, "We knew it was coming it was just a matter of when."

MacDonald has been homeless on and off for the last three years. He says many homeless people in the city understand why the carts are a nuisance, but it's still an inconvenience for them.

"It's not just a bunch of street urchins looking for whatever fix they need there are genuine people out there that really need the help," explained MacDonald.

For the next 60 days city code enforcement workers will be out, clearing out abandoned shopping carts and removing them from homeless people who are still using them as storage. They then call the retailers who own the carts and give them three days to pick them up before facing a fine, an effort to make the stores more accountable for preventing them from being stolen.

A Visalia Code Enforcement added, "This takes away the blight from the neighborhood and allows neighbors to come out and enjoy their properties without seeing a bunch of trash."

So far the city has picked up 75 carts, 30 of which belonged to homeless people.

The city has partnered with the rescue mission to provide free and secure storage for homeless people who need somewhere to store their possessions.

There are 96 brand new, unused garbage bins that are kept locked in the c-trains (storage containers) and people are given time twice a day to come by and get access to their belongings.

Jessica Cavale with the Visalia Rescue Mission added, "There's someone monitoring to make sure they're going to their bin that's designated to their name."

Despite the security measures taken, some homeless people are still wary about the system.

The rescue mission hopes it would put them in contact with some people they would normally not have contact with, so they can help provide services and help get them off the streets.

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