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Fresno City Initiates Clearing of Homeless Encampments

The city of Fresno started clearing out homeless encampments early Monday morning.
After increased crime and even fires, the city told residents of the makeshift encampments that they had thirty days to leave and now time is up.

Heavy machinery lifts away scattered items as the city of Fresno starts the removal of structures in an encampment Monday morning.  The cleanup has been in the plans for the last few months.
 
"Regardless if it's hot or cold, they still manage to put us out," said Rozetta Landrum, who lives in one of the homeless encampment near Santa Clara and F Street.
 
Like dozens of others, Rozetta Landrum has built a home here in this encampment.  The city said it's a health concern and increased crime like murder, assault and arson have forced them to make the area safer.  In the past, the city's been sued by the homeless, who said their property was illegally destroyed.  But, city leaders say, they have a responsibility.
 
"The possibility of being sued is a reality, but we could also be facing a lawsuit from the neighborhood who would say this is selective code enforcement.  In other words you wouldn't allow this to happen anywhere else in Fresno, so why are you allowing it here?" said Fresno City Manager, Bruce Rudd.
 
But not everyone agrees with the clean-up process. A homeless advocate group was out at the site collecting signatures for a petition to establish a humane and affordable housing policy.

"It's important for us to help give a voice in a sense that this isn't a way to help the problem, this is only making the problem worse," said Christopher Breedlove with a homeless advocate group.
 
The city said they gave a 30-day notice to those living in the encampment and have been working closely with the Fresno Housing Authority to help get them off the streets.

"Thus far, we've housed about 51 people.  Some of them we've hooked up with the Department of Veteran Affairs which is exciting. Some pregnant women, we've gotten them into housing so that they have a place for their
children," said Doreen Eley with the Fresno Housing Authority.
 
The city will have police and code enforcement out patrolling the area to make sure the illegal structures don't pop up again.  They said those being forced to move will most likely be able to pitch a tent overnight, but will have to pack it up once the sun rises.

The city plans to clear out a total of three encampments which could a few weeks.
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Fresno, CA

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