Residents of Camp Hope have 90 days to move | New
Residents of a homeless settlement known as ‘Camp Hope’ near Stockton Road near downtown Sonora have 90 days to relocate due to concerns about the health risks associated with the old dump that operated on the property decades ago, Tuolumne County officials said in a statement released Monday afternoon.
The county said in the statement it was working with a team of government agencies and nonprofits before the transition to provide access to services and safe housing for residents displaced from the camp, which has added amenities such as portable toilets and garbage collection in recent years.
“Individuals will have 90 days to move, and the county will provide services to assist with such relocation,” the statement said. “The county has found that most people are ready to move once they are made aware of the violation, have offered services and shelter, and understand that they have to vacate by a certain date.”
Discussions about forcing people to leave the site became public early last year amid an investigation into environmental concerns at the site, conducted in conjunction with the California Department of Recycling and Salvage. resources, or CalRecycle.
The county is actively monitoring the property and activities of those who live on the site in consultation with CalRecycle, the statement said.
The owners of the property have already been made aware of concerns about developments at the site, including the construction of unauthorized shelters and the build-up of garbage, human waste, hazardous materials and abandoned vehicles, the statement said.
In addition, the release states that the property contains hazardous combustion ash which was historically used as a municipal dumping ground for the Sonora region where waste was brought and burned until around the 1960s.
Camping is also not a permitted use for the property, the statement said.
Enforcement action is being taken by the county due to violations of county ordinances and the local CalRecycle enforcement agency, which is part of the county’s Environmental Health Division.
County staff held a meeting in February last year with representatives from CalRecycle, homeless advocates who worked with camp residents, and the main landlords at the time, Larry and Dixie Rotelli.
Larry Rotelli, a former county supervisor who had allowed the camp to continue on the property, died in late April last year.
The statement said the county was waiting to take enforcement action until staff could secure funding and alternative temporary housing for people living in the camp and due to COVID-19 safety precautions that limited this. that he could do with regard to moving people off the site.
Organizations and agencies involved in triage and safe housing for displaced people outside the camp include Resiliency Village, County Public Health and Behavioral Health Departments, Home Support Services, CalWORKS, CalFRESH, the Agency for community action in Amador-Tuolumne, Nancy’s Hope and the Refuge recovery center.
“Some of the services that will be offered are emergency housing, COVID emergency management, employment training support, addiction services, mental health programs and medical care,” says the press release.
Other community partners who have helped create emergency housing and support services for those displaced by law enforcement include the City of Sonora, Adventist Health Sonora, Indian Health Center Tuolumne Me-Wuk, Mathiesen Memorial Health Center, the Center for a Nonviolent Community. and the Sonora Area Foundation.
Homeless people have camped on the property for decades and only recently received amenities including portable toilets, a garbage collection, and a 2,500 gallon tank that disperses drinking water for those who live there.
It is estimated that approximately 50 to 65 people camp on the property depending on the time of year and conditions.
The city, ATCAA and other groups and private donors provided funding to provide the facilities at the site, which was organized by the Jamestown-based nonprofit Give Someone a Chance as part of a program pilot to assess how such a designated camp could function. .
Several homeless people have said in previous interviews that the camp has become more of a community since the start of the program, with some managing to leave after finding jobs and permanent accommodation.
Local fire officials have expressed concerns about the growing danger of fire to people living in the area following two fires last month, one starting in Camp Hope and the other across the river. street in a separate homeless camp.
The encampment located across Stockton Road from Camp Hope is spread over several plots owned by different entities, including the city, Caltrans and individuals.
It also follows a recent eviction of people living in a homeless encampment behind Lowe’s Home Improvement store near Old Roads Ferry Road which was carried out by the city through a trespass order which is entered into force almost two years ago.