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Scorched Earth Policy
The war on the poor continues in Fresno. Photo below: Looking south on Weber (toward Belmont)
The City of Fresno is destroying a long established growth of oleander bushes to remove a couple dozen homeless people from their encampment. Weber avenue, from Olive to Belmont, is closed right now so city work crews can remove the only protection these homeless people have from the scorching Fresno sun. It is forecast to be over 100 degrees in Fresno all week.
This demolition is followed by the removal of homeless encampments under and around the Monterey Bridge 2 weeks ago. The city spent about $1 million to remove the homeless and destroy the bridge. What will be left at that location is a weed infested vacant lot which will most likely be fenced in so the homeless can’t live there.
The demolition of oleander bushes on Weber avenue is just the prelude to an eviction that will take place on Friday, August 3 (starting at 8 a.m.) of any homeless people who remain there after today’s destruction. Notices went up last week informing the homeless residents at that encampment that the city will take their property if it is not removed by this Friday morning.
Most of the homeless in Fresno have no safe and legal place to live, because there are far fewer shelter beds than are needed. The inevitable result is that homeless people sleep on sidewalks, behind oleander bushes, and anywhere else they can find.
After the City of Fresno destroyed all of the major homeless encampments in downtown Fresno in October and November of last year, those displaced have tried to find new places to live. The City of Fresno continued a campaign of harassment for a month or two, chasing people from one sidewalk to the next and then in January 2012 they seemed to back off. Now, they are on the attack again striking at one encampment after another.
The question the homeless would like to know is - where can they go? Without a safe and legal place to live (preferably one that provides basic public services like drinking water, trash pick up and a toilet) this pattern of abuse and destruction is likely to continue.
If you are tired of the city’s current policy on homelessness, let them know by contacting City Hall. Contact information is available here: http://www.fresno.gov/
This is a City of Fresno crew destroying the Oleander bushes at the Homeless encampment on Weber avenue.