published on October 18, 2017 - 4:31 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Officials are providing guidance to Fresno County island and unincorporated area property owners in support of ongoing efforts to clean up homeless encampments, which pose health and safety risks to communities.

The County’s Working Group compiled a checklist for owners to help clean up unsafe conditions and secure their property. The list included the following instructions:

*Call 811 before beginning a cleanup that may require digging on the property. After calling, Underground Service Alert will contact companies that have underground lines in the area.

*Assemble or hire a cleanup crew. Contact a local area trash hauler for solid (non-hazardous) waste disposal. Depending on the trash/debris on site, the hauler may have to deliver a roll-off trash bin/dumpster. For trash/debris that needs to be hauled to the landfill, the Fresno County Public Works & Planning- Resources Division can provide a voucher up to $40 to offset the cost of the landfill fees (equivalent of two pickup loads).

*Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) includes chemicals, paint household batteries, sharps/needles, electronic waste such as TV monitors, computers and small electronic devices. Limited HHW can be dropped off at no charge for Fresno County residents at the Regional HHW facility located at the American Avenue Disposal site in Kerman. Drop-off hours for residents are Saturdays (except holiday weekends): 9 a.m. to noon.

*The Fresno Department of Public Health- Environmental Health Division (EHD) can provide a sharps/needles disposal container upon request. Sharps/needles can be disposed of at the Regional HHW facility (see “Turning It Around Recycling Directory” or contact the Resources Division). For additional questions on sharps disposal or hazardous waste information, please contact EHD.

*Medications (no sharps) can be discarded at drop boxes located at police departments and the Sheriff’s Office (see “Turning It Around Recycling Directory” or contact the Rx Lock It Up Project).

*Overgrown trees and brush provide cover for camping and illegal activity. If these conditions are present on a property, contact a tree-trimming company for removal.

*Contact a fencing company to secure the property. The most successful fences are the 6-foot chain-link with barbed wire.

*Obtain several 17”X22” NO TRESSPASSING and/or PRIVATE PROPERTY signs.

*Look into a property management company to ensure the property is always monitored.

*Contact the Sheriff’s Office once cleanup plan has been organized (hauler has been contacted and cleanup crew assembled) to schedule a cleanup date with the Sheriff.

*The cleanup must occur immediately after the trespassers have been removed by the Sheriff’s Office. Note: Sheriff’s Office must provide a 7-day notice to the trespassers prior to cleanup.

*Once the county is made aware of the trespassers, homeless advocates will be alerted to the site to offer services.

Speaking during the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning, officials from the Working Group to Address Homeless Encampments reported that county efforts have resulted in the successful cleanup of nine large encampments since November, 2015. In FY 2016-17, the cleanup costs totaled approximately $140,000.

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