Hundreds of people, living in deplorable conditions on the streets of downtown Fresno got notices to vacate on Tuesday morning. One homeless woman was not happy to hear the news.
"You mean destroying our homes and taking everything we own and throwing it in the garbage like last time?" said the woman who only wanted to be identified as "Melissa."
It's been several years since the area around the Poverello House was cleared by the City of Fresno. In about a month, the encampments that have taken over city sidewalks and streets will be gone. City manager says encampments by Los Angeles and E Street and another on H Street and Santa Clara will also be removed.
"Going forward, we'll probably get sued but the encampments will not come back. And that's the trade off or the cost of trying to protect these neighborhoods," said new City Manager, Bruce Rudd.
A four-step process is already underway. About $1.5 million dollars of public and private money is being allocated to help some homeless find permanent housing. Case workers began meeting with those in need six weeks ago.
"We've housed 35 individuals. Primarily, we start with the ones that are the most vulnerable so that included two women who were pregnant," said Preston Prince, Executive Director of the Housing Authority.
The next steps are posting notices and removing encampments. Fresno Police are leading a task force to implement the last step: enforcement.
"We'll have four police officers, two from community sanitation and two from code enforcement that'll work seven days a week for the purpose of ensuring we don't have any more encampments in the City of Fresno," said Chief Jerry Dyer.
A resident who keeps guard dogs for her protection is hopeful the efforts will work, but one longtime business owner says it's the same story he's heard before.
"I've been hearing that for over 20 years. They start to do something then they quit," said James John Diaz of Diaz Transmissions.
After the encampments are cleared, the homeless can still camp in a tent, but it must be taken down every morning.