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Indybay Feature
Fri Apr 4 2014 (Updated 04/05/14)
What It Is Like to Be Homeless in Downtown Fresno
Fresno Ordinance Forces Homeless to Stay on the Move in Fear of Having Possessions Taken
Homeless people in downtown Fresno can no longer set up encampments. They must put up a tent in the evening and take it down early in the morning. During the day, they have to stay with their property or it will be taken and put into storage. On March 6, the Fresno City Council passed an ordinance that makes it easier for the police to remove shopping carts from the homeless. This follows ordinances to stop the homeless from using median islands to ask for money and another one that prevents the homeless from aggressive panhandling.

These “quality of life” ordinances are having an impact as the homeless experience more pressure to be constantly on the move and never have a place to stay that is safe and secure. Kate [not real name], a retirement age homeless woman with breast cancer, broke down and cried, saying that the stress of living on the street, the insecurity of having to always be on the move and worry about whether her tent and sleeping bag were being taken away have led her to stop the cancer treatments at the hospital. The level of stress was too high for her to continue. Without treatment, Kate will probably not survive for long.

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