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Homeless camps swept up in I.E.

February 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
It was a clean sweep of homeless camps in an Inland Empire riverbed. The clean-up effort involves the Santa Ana River. There's concern the waste from the camps will pollute groundwater. But what are the reactions of the homeless people?Moving the homeless along around the Santa Ana River bottom for their own safety is an ongoing operation. A little over a year ago, they were moved out of fear of floods by Flood Control officials.

Wednesday's action involved HAZMAT crews. They're concerned about toxics that could filter in the aquifer.

"This is like twice a year they do this. But the mulching is the big thing. They have the right to do it, because it's flood control. We understand that. But they have to give us proper time to get out," said Randy Rudd, who is one of the homeless.

Most were given just two days' notice to get out.

"Last year, last couple of years, they've been doing it really hard," said Diane Holbert, who is one of the homeless. "Hitting us really hard for no reason. I mean, we want to get off the street. Leave us alone so we can."

Twenty-year-old Eric Descartes and one other party parked their motor home in the river bottom. He'll be moving into a campground in Temecula.

"It's kind of a big problem, because money isn't that resourceful to the school," said Descartes. "And I'll have to take a long-distance to Temecula to a campground that is not really a guarantee to park it. And that cost us money, as well."

The homeless were quite interested in an article in Wednesday morning's Press-Enterprise announcing the Riverside City Council has approved $1.1 million to build a new homeless access center.

 

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