Police clear homeless encampment in downtown Fresno

A homeless encampment in downtown Fresno was cleared by city workers Wednesday after occupants were given repeated notices that they could not permanently reside near a freeway underpass.

Sgt. Troy Miller of the police department’s Homeless Task Force said the occupants near Monterey and H streets were blocking roadways and setting up long-term structures, not simply camping in the area overnight. He cited one occupant who had a kitchen set up on a sidewalk.

“That’s where we start to run into problems,” said Miller, who also noted that the owner of a nearby business — who has been in the area for 22 years — cannot sell his property because of the encampments.

Police also found that three occupants had warrants, one of whom ran when officers arrived, Miller said.

Laurence Taylor, who was collecting his belonging from the site, said the city is simply shuffling homeless from one area to another.

“They’re making us move a little bit that way, a little bit this way,” he said.

Taylor suggested that the city or county put aside a dedicated piece of property downtown and allow the homeless to organize it themselves.

“We have no where else to go,” he said. “We can’t all just go to the mission.”