Paso Robles city council also discussed the dangers with fire and other issues created by having people living in the Salinas riverbed. Councilman John Hamon said it’s time something is done about the homeless people in the Paso Robles community, especially those living in the riverbed.
Police Chief Ty Lewis says there are other issues related to how the city deals with the homeless, like exposure to lawsuits. Councilman Fred Strong asked the police chief about the cost of patrolling the riverbed. The chief says he has three full time people on the Community Action Team (CAT). They patrol the riverbed. Fred Strong raised a question about who these people are who are living in the riverbed. Are they local people? Are they drifting in from out of the area to take advantage of the weather and the free camping in the riverbed? Chief Lewis says his research and that done by the El Camino Homeless Organization finds 85% of the homeless are local people.
The city attorney noted, the discussion last night was about a presentation. No action could be taken unless it was put on the agenda. The discussion evolved into more talk about how best to treat the mentally ill and drug abusers who choose to live in the riverbed. It’s a discussion which will likely continue.