Pao - HomelessFC

Pao Saphan, owner of Sam’s Strawberry, stood in his fruit stand on July 10. Saphan said homeless people have camped on the land behind his business and littered the area just east of the Kings River with trash from various items. About 50 homeowners from the River Bottom subdivision attended a July 3 meeting with police and city leaders to discuss the problem.

 

  

 

Over the past 18 months, Reedley police say the city’s homeless population has risen to levels never seen before.

A new encampment erected within the past few months along the Kings River, west of the River Bottom subdivision, has generated a number of calls to police from nearby homeowners. Residents have reported homeless people stealing their property, trespassing through their yards, and peering over their fences. The encampments also poses a fire risk that City Manager Nicole Zieba said the city is monitoring on a “minute by minute basis.”

Reedley Police Lieutenant Marc Ediger said police are now focusing their efforts more on the homeless problem than on Reedley’s gang members.

“We have always had a few homeless, but never has it risen to the levels we have seen in the past couple of years,” Ediger said at a July 3 meeting convened by city officials to address the homeless problem.

The meeting was held at Redeemer’s Church in Reedley and attended by about 50 homeowners living in the River Bottom subdivision.

“We are just as frustrated as you are,” Ediger told the homeowners.

A group of between 15 and 20 homeless people, mostly men between the ages of 19 and 50, recently set up an encampment west of the subdivision. They had previously lived in an encampment in orchards along Buttonwillow Avenue until the landowner cleared the orchards. 

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