Special to the Vanguard
Sacramento, CA – Governor Newsom on Friday announced that the state has cleared an average of 100 encampments per month with a total of 1,262 cleared sites, removing 1,213 tons of trash – enough to fill 22 Olympic-size swimming pools.
To highlight the successful state efforts, Governor Newsom joined Caltrans cleanup efforts at an encampment on I-10 in Los Angeles Thursday. During his Administration, the Governor has helped clean up several encampments across the state.
“Leaving people on the streets and our highways is dangerous and inhumane. It’s unacceptable,” said Governor Newsom. “California is investing billions of dollars to house thousands of people and clean up our communities and streets. Our efforts are a model for the nation, and more importantly, we’re getting people off the streets and into the housing and services they deserve.”
When Governor Newsom took office, California lacked money, coordination and accountability in tackling the state’s homelessness crisis. Now, three years later, the state has become a national leader, investing $14.7 billion toward homelessness with a coordinated statewide approach focusing on encampment resolution and housing through the Homekey program.
California has provided housing or shelter to more than 67,000 people since the beginning of the pandemic and 55,000 housing units have been or are in the process of being deployed.
The budget Governor Newsom signed earlier this year includes $700 million for encampment resolution grants with $350 million earmarked for assisting those living on state right-of-way property.
Some of the 1,262 encampments closed by Caltrans during the past 12 months include:
- Bay Area – In May, Caltrans closed an encampment along State Route 77 near the High Street offramp in Oakland, collecting 1,600 cubic yards of trash, the most of any single encampment in the state. Throughout the nine Bay Area counties, Caltrans closed 283 encampments and collected more than 14,668 cubic yards of trash.
- Los Angeles – In April, Caltrans closed an encampment along Interstate 105 near the Central Avenue offramp, collecting 1,250 cubic yards of trash, the most of any single encampment in Southern California. Caltrans closed 321 encampments and collected more than 33,546 cubic yards of trash throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
- San Diego – Caltrans closed 281 encampments and collected more than 2,678 cubic yards of trash throughout San Diego and Imperial counties.
- Central Coast – Caltrans closed 161 encampments and collected more than 6,672 cubic yards of trash throughout Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties. This includes an encampment the department closed along Highway 1 near the Ocean Street onramp in Santa Cruz from which Caltrans collected more than 1,000 cubic yards of trash.
- Sacramento and the Central Valley – Caltrans closed 121 encampments and collected more than 11,192 cubic yards of trash throughout the Central Valley between Butte County in the north and Kern County to the south. This includes 40 encampments in Sacramento County in which the department collected a total of more than 3,078 cubic yards of trash.
- North Coast – Caltrans closed 56 encampments and collected more than 1,176 cubic yards of trash throughout Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Lake counties.
- Orange County – Caltrans closed 22 encampments and collected more than 1,721 cubic yards of trash.