Residents of a homeless encampment that sprang up in central Fresno overnight were told that they needed to gather their possessions and move on Wednesday by police enforcing the city’s new ban on homeless camping.
The camp, along the McKinley Canal between Cedar and Millbrook avenues, was populated by about a half-dozen people living in tents and tarps. Officers awakened some residents about 10 a.m., after receiving complaints about the camp. Some residents were still asleep in tents, including Audrey Sanchez, who sat inside one near a Fresno Irrigation District ponding basin.
Sanchez, who said that she has been homeless for “a couple years,” said she she was unsure of her future plans.
“I don’t even know yet,” she said. She seemed reluctant to move on.
“It’s pretty cool,” she said of the encampment, even though there was a large pile of debris nearby.
William Morgan, another resident, said he has been without an address for three and one-half years. Morgan said he had heard that there were social service plans available for people in his situation, but said he had not yet looked into them.
Police did not appear to be citing the residents of the encampment, although they have the power to do so under the measure passed by the city council in August. Although violators could face a $1,000 fine, they may also allow police to take them to a MAP point, a multi-agency clearinghouse for housing, shelter, health and social services based at Poverello House in downtown Fresno.