Fresno City Council gets homeless documentary

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Despite a concentrated two year effort to deal with Fresno's homeless. Folks like Doug Jackson are still living on the street.

Jackson says he fell on hard times and became homeless years ago, and got used to the lifestyle.

"Some people enjoy it, I was having fun for a while, but it starts to wear on you a little bit," explained Jackson.

DVD copies of a new documentary about Fresno's homeless called "Our Lives, Surviving the Streets of Fresno" was just given to members of the City Council. It chronicles the lives of ten homeless, some who found homes and others who are still on the streets. The film maker, Yellowfeather Noriega was homeless. She credits a city program with getting her housing. She says one goal of the film is to show the city the homeless can be helped.

Noriega said, "I believe we need more programs because a lot of people are not drug addicts, we have homeless vets, we have people with mental issues and just certain other people who are down on their luck."

But whatever the reasons for homelessness, many businesses owners, like Nick Marziliano are complaining to the city that the homeless are a growing nuisance.

Marziliano said, "Our biggest problem is that they are coming through and they are panhandling through our parking lot with the customers and try to disturb them when they are having lunch in the patio areas."

He wants tougher city ordinances to keep the homeless moving along. But Sgt. Robert Dewey has headed the city's Homeless Task Force for two years and says police are doing all they can.

Sgt. Dewey said, It's not against the law being homeless all we can do is try to address the laws being broken, because of that chosen life style, whether it's a trespassing law, littering, possession of shopping cart, urinating in public, any of those things that are going on that follow the lifestyle of that transient vagrant lifestyle, those are the laws that we are addressing."

Dewey says the good thing is many homeless who once filled the downtown encampments have found housing, but he says more new homeless faces seem to be coming into the city.

"It's a tough job and I don't know that two years into this there's an end in sight for anytime soon," explained Sgt. Dewey.

Yellowfeather Noriega hopes her film showing the human side of homelessness will somehow help city leaders understand the issue.

Noriega added, "I believe that our community should join together and create solutions instead of focusing on the problem."

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