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'Benchlands' homeless encampment in Santa Cruz reopens after 24 hour closure

Benchlands homeless encampment in...

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The homeless encampment in the San Lorenzo Park Benchlands in Santa Cruz is back open after being closed for one day.

Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation along with other city crews gave the homeless community a few days notice before the closure. Thursday they evacuated the area to do maintenance and bring some organization to the grounds.

Crews added a fence and put markers up separating designated camp sites for individuals to set up their belongings. Some of the homeless people there say they are thankful for the new set up. "it pretty much just gives a person your own little space to work with, and that's a good thing, and at this day and age in this world I mean you just got to be grateful for whatever you get," says Porter Hoover, who is staying at the Benchlands.

Others do not think the changes are going to last. Jason Whipe, who also lives at the encampment says, "Just the whole idea of it is not gonna work cause there's no limitations on the type of people that they exclude or include. And there's just gonna be problems with individuals ruining the whole situation for everybody."

Park goer, Lynne Cooper, says although this does not seem like a permanent solution, she is happy to see organization, "Well this I'm really happy about because this looks organized, there's a 
management element and I've always believed we can bring a certain level of 
management to the homeless issue and create a campground."

Santa Cruz city manager says while the city does not want this to be a permanent encampment, they are managing the best they can while they look for a permanent shelter location. 


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