News

At least 80 drug needles found during homeless clean up in Santa Cruz

At least 80 drug needles found during...

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - UPDATE November 9, 2017 7:00

At least 80 drug needles were found during a homeless clean up in Santa Cruz. 

According to Santa Cruz City Rangers, the needles were located near San Lorenzo Park while crews were clearing out the homeless encampment known as the "Benchlands."

Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation along with other Santa Cruz City workers were out for a good portions of the day cleaning up. The clean up started around 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Santa Cruz Parks and recreations say they are taking 24 hours to clean the area before re-opening it to the public.

Santa Cruz City manager Martin Bernal, says having the people move of the grounds was essential for crews to get in and clean up. "So that there could be some maintenance provided at the park as well as to provide some additional measures to provide some organization there."

Bernal says while this is not a good area for a permanent homeless encampment, it is necessary for the city to manage it for the time being. "We are designating areas where tents can be again to kind of allow for the area to be better managed so people aren't spread out all over so there's 
more organization in respect to where people are placing there belongings," says Bernal.

Along with adding markers for designated tent spots, the city also put up a fence around the grounds. They hope this will keep the homeless community off of the golf disk course and out of the river that runs down below.

The city also recently added washing stations and portable bathrooms to help fight the Hepatitis A outbreak, which is one of the reasons homeless people stay in this area. Mark Hemersbach, a homeless man who stays at the benchlands say having the wash stations is very handy, " The bathrooms are nice, especially the had washing facilities cause there's a lot of filth around here. And it just feels nice to freshen up since we don't get to shower like people who have homes."

The homeless community was given a few days notice of the closure, there is a warming shelter open for the night.

The Santa Cruz County Winter Shelter program will be opening November 15th. The county says they have added more beds to accommodate the growing number of homeless people.

Bernal also says the city is working on several projects to help the homeless community. One is the opening of a storage unity where homeless people can keep their belongings in bins rather than carrying them around. That is expected to open within the next month.

 

PREVIOUS STORY:

At least 80 drug needles were found during a homeless clean up in Santa Cruz. 

According to Santa Cruz City Rangers, the needles were located near San Lorenzo Park while crews were clearing out the homeless encampment known as the "Benchlands."

Park rangers and city crews started the clean up around 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation said they're taking the 24 hours to clean the area, before re-opening it to the public. 

The homeless was given a few days notice of the closure. 

KION's Ashley Keehn spoke with city officials and will have more on their plans for this area at 5 and 6p.m. 

 


comments powered by Disqus