Jan. 26, 2015
This morning Caltrans began removing a longstanding homeless encampment, where an estimated 25 people called home. Some of them have lived there for up to two years. Shortly after 8a.m. Caltrans workers with heavy machinery began tearing down makeshift buildings and bagging things up from the encampment.
Thursday, Jan 22 a notice to vacate the property was posted but residents say it wasn’t enough time to find shelter and move their belongings.
Gail Henslee, 60, who has lived in the camp for 2 months:
“We have nowhere to go, and they don’t care,” she said.
Brent Shirley, 52, has lived in the camp for six months:
“There’s no closure for all of this – none,” he said. “It’s just a vicious cycle we’re all living in.”
One man complained of chest pains and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance shortly after the crew arrived.
Steve Mentz, 51, said he didn’t know where he was going to spend the night.
“They’re making it where there’s nowhere to go,” he said.
To top the whole thing off, as if displacing people in the middle of winter isn’t already ironic enough, the Merced County Rescue Mission said it will not be opening it’s warming shelter this winter.
Last year, there were 768 homeless people in Merced County, including 21 children, based on the 2014 Homeless Count and Survey.