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Homeless Encampment Update

posted Jun 13, 2013, 11:16 AM by Monika Morrow
You may have heard from neighbors that we've noticed an uptick in homeless activity in and around our neighborhood recently. Several of our residents expressed concern to the city and Paul Pereira from Sam Liccardo's office was able to visit the area yesterday with Art Nino from the CSJ Housing Department and he provided us the following update. The attached images have been inserted at the end of each paragraph.

Good morning,
I wanted to update you on our visit to the area yesterday. Art Nino of the CSJ Housing Department and I spent about two hours in the neighborhood yesterday afternoon. We walked along all of Ferrari Drive to check gates and access points into the neighborhood. The double gates at the far Western end of Ferrari Drive that belong to PG&E and are access gates were locked with triple locks and secured. I even tried pulling the bar up and seeing if it was possible to jimmy the bars up to sneak through but they have locked the pole in such a way that it’s nearly impossible to do this. We then went along Ferrari and met Ernie and Louie, the two brothers that own the vacant lot near the middle of Ferrari that previously served as an access point between the neighborhood and the vacant Caltrans lot. Ernie and Louie were in the process of installing a fence along the property line because they will begin construction of a single family home on the vacant lot within 30 days and are securing the site. (Image attached) They were good enough to undo the fence boards for a bit and let us through to check out the vacant lot for about an hour.

RG Fence Ferrari

We tried the Caltrans firedoor that also leads into the area from the other side of the vacant lot and saw that it had been secured with some new columnar bolts and screws so that it can’t be pulled through without an extra key chuck and key for the lock. When I got back to my desk yesterday evening Caltrans had left a message that they had been out yesterday morning securing the door and checking the locks. This was in response to our emails as well as multiple calls you all have made via their phone number and the email regarding concerns. (image attached)
RG Ferrari CalTrans Fire Door

Our walk through the area left us feeling that it was now extremely difficult to get onto Ferrari Drive and into the neighborhood via that vacant lot, as almost every former access point now has at least two layers of fences to get through. If there’s another access point that we missed please let me know so we can follow up. We’ll be following up with Caltrans about the rest of the lot and the recent tagging that happened over the past few days. (images attached)
RG Tagging

While out there we also met one homeless individual who had been living in another encampment about six miles south of the neighborhood. His name is James and he has the small black dog named Kitty. James explained that there had been a fire happen in his prior encampment near Monterey Road and Tully Road that burned all his paperwork, including his drivers license and he has had to start over. We connected him with some numbers to offer help, and got his cell phone number to pass along to the homeless helpline so he can get a new ID and get onto a housing list. We did not encounter any other homeless individuals in that immediate area at that time, but did connect with people in the neighborhood and James who said there’s 6 – 8 other homeless people living in the lot close to the freeway and Guadalupe River . We also drove out to the Guadalupe River to see if there was some way that people could easily access the area via Coleman Ave. We did this in response to some comments about a theory that people were pushed out to the site as an after effect of the Coleman area clean up and that people are coming into the neighborhood via the Guadalupe River . We walked well over two miles and did not find an easy access point across the river other than using the freeway or crossing along the small 18 inch wide concrete fish ladders that go across the River. It’s my honest opinion that people are not accessing the area from the Guadalupe River . They are using an access point off the freeway onramp along First Street as their main entry way into that area.

Paul Pereira