Residents and management of the Rancho Los Banos Mobile Home Park urged the Los Banos City Council at its May 4 meeting to deal with a nearby homeless encampment.
Chandra Lewis, the Assistant Manager for Rancho Los Banos Mobile Home Park on East Pacheco Boulevard, spoke during the council’s public forum asking for help.
“We have called the police, but nothing is being done,” Lewis said. Residents of the mobile home park are dealing with more than trespassing, she added, including theft, vandalism and fires. “We want to press charges [against the houseless homeless population],” she said.
Representatives of the mobile home park met on May 3 with Police Chief Gary Brizzee, Lewis added, and they were able to voice their concern, but they plan on continuing to attend city council meetings until the issue gets resolved.
Adrian Rivera, a resident of the mobile home park, said he believes the homeless situation near him is “a big problem.”
Within the past two years, Rivera said, there have been four or five fires started by the homeless community.
Rivera mentioned his main concern is that the fires will eventually catch one of the mobile homes on fire, putting residents in direct danger. He also said the noise level is out of control.
“We have residents who work the graveyard shift and day shifts,” River said, “and it doesn’t matter, they [homeless population] have the stereo up, max volume. We [residents] can’t sleep at night or day, and they have a drum set, . . . they’re playing the trumpet, drums, and they have a little band over there, so how are you supposed to go to work when you don’t sleep?”
Besides the noise issue, Rivera said he believes some homeless people are going into residents’ garages and cars stealing items. On top of the suspected thefts, the homeless population is not only trespassing within the mobile park, they’re leaving their trash as well as drug paraphernalia.
One resident noted that while members of the public were aware that the issue is not an isolated local issue, they are currently the ones dealing with the direct impact of the homeless encampment.
Councilmember Deborah Lewis in her report later in the meeting said her “heart really goes out to them because we’ve placed a horrible situation around them they can’t control.”
While there are some homeless people, Councilmember Lewis added, who do not want to be on the streets (and the community has been successful in getting them into programs), there are other homeless people who “don’t want to go inside.”
She pointed out there are programs for drug and alcohol addiction, as well as mental health resources, but she believes the state has not provided adequate funding to sustain such programs at the local level.
“Communities are left vulnerable,” Councilmember Lewis said. “There is pressure on communities to house people, but there is no money sent to do this, especially with smaller communities who struggle with their budgets anyway.”
Councilmember Lewis said that until the homeless issue is resolved, the homeless encampment should be moved to a more remote location away from the mobile park residents.
“I don’t think anyone up here would want them in our backyard,” referring to herself and the other councilmembers.
She formally requested to put the homeless encampment issue back on the agenda.
“I don’t believe the residents should be terrorized,” she said.