Homelessness steadily increasing; how Kings County non-profits are helping and property owner rights

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Friday, March 22, 2024
Homelessness steadily increasing; how Kings County non-profits are helping and property owner rights
Kings County nonprofits are trying to find a way to offer resources to community members who are homeless. Here's how they are helping:

HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- Homelessness in Kings County is on the rise.

There are hundreds of people living on the streets.

A 2023 Point in Time count says 383 are in Hanford alone.

That's an increase of about 120 people compared to the previous year.

"It's a problem everywhere and it can be very frustrating for the property owners and for business owners. They are trying to conduct regular business and make a living and this is just something that they are having to deal with," says Hanford Police Chief, Stephanie Huddleston.

Property owners can fill out this document called a Letter of Agency, which allows police to get people off a property without having to contact the owners.

In the last six months, Hanford Police has received about 900 calls for service regarding people camping out on private property or trespassing.

Just a couple days ago, when private properties were being cleared, 54-year old Michael Flores refused to leave and waved an axe at officers.

"It's something that we don't want to encounter and anytime anyone arms themselves with a weapon we have to take necessary precautions. And fortunately in this event the officers were able to reason with the individual," mentions Chief Stephanie Huddleston.

In Downtown Hanford, business owners say they've experienced unhoused people trying to get into their shops.

Monee Trujillo works at Patty's Studio in downtown.

She says they've had to add a padlock for safety.

"Unfortunately, I think a lot of situations that happen while they are on drugs is because they had no resources available," mentions Monee.

Nonprofits agree, resources are very limited.

There are only a handful of them offering shelter, food and basic hygiene needs.

Kings Community Action Organization is one of them; they say there's hope.

This empty lot, on South tenth avenue and Hanford-Armona Road, is where they plan to build a shelter.

It would have over a hundred beds for locals with nowhere to go.

"They just don't have the resources. And so, understanding who these individuals would, I think, help our cause and everybody else's cause and help people to develop more compassion, more empathy and hopefully be there to maybe help. You know, with some of these projects," explains Joey Cox, with the Kings Community Action Organization.

Kings Community Action Organization says they are still in need of funding for their shelter.

For now, private donors and government grants are helping make their project possible.

If you'd like to help you can volunteer or donate monetary goods or hygiene products. For more ways to help or for resources visit here.

Other non-profits include Kings Gospel Mission and the Kings County Homelessness Coalition.

You can also call 2-1-1 or visit here for a list of homeless shelters in Kings County.

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