Homeless encampment under Highway 101, Petaluma
PETALUMA – According to a Petaluma Police Department (PPD) Advisory, officers evicted transients from illegal encampments while in coordination with outreach organizations on Monday, March 7th.
On Sunday, March 4, between 8am and 4pm, PPD coordinated a large-scale abatement of illegal encampments and disposal sites, working collaboratively with Cal Trans, Petaluma Village Premium Outlet staff, and volunteers from the Mary Isaak Center Shelter, the Committee on the Shelterless (COTS), and the Santa Rosa Catholic Charities.
Eight homeless encampments and a large tree house were removed from vacant property near the outlet mall. Other encampments were abated on the banks for the Petaluma River and near SMART rail tracks under US Highway 101.
Outreach workers from the various groups were on hand offering assistance to homeless individuals living at the sites. Three subjects refused services but agreed to assist with the clean-up efforts.
Over 80 cubic yards of waste, debris and garbage were removed from the encampments.
In December of last year, PPD was awarded a grant from CalRecycle in the amount of $500,000 to fund a full-time officer for 2 years to abate and dispose of illegal encampments. Many of the illegal campsites are near Petaluma waterways and pose a significant threat to public health, safety and the environment.
Many of the sites contain human waste, debris, furniture, contraband, and other hazardous materials.
In January, PPD Officer Ryan DeBaeke was selected as the department’s full time Homeless Outreach Services Team Officer (HOST). HOST works with the organizations that provide housing and services to the homeless population.
The PPD is committed to ridding the city of these illegal campsites and to provide the homeless with resources to assist them with getting back on their feet. Residents are encouraged to report illegal encampments to HOST Officer Ryan DeBaeke at 707-778-4455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.