An illegal homeless encampment at the base of the Highway 99 southbound ramp at Yosemite Avenue next to the Best Western Inn touched off a flurry of calls to the Manteca Police Department urging the city to take steps to address what is being called an unsafe and unsightly development.
The illegal encampment in the Caltrans right-of-way sprung up over the weekend. The response from the California Highway Patrol and Manteca Police was quick on Monday
CHP officer Douglas Carraway, Jr., and Manteca Police Community Resource Officer Mike Kelly were on the scene talking with a trio bedded down in their makeshift camp along the freeway sound wall that involved using a ping pong table parked next to a traffic signal as shelter to simple bed rolls and a makeshift tent.
Kelly cited a woman known to police for possessing hand trucks that were missing from the nearby McDonald’s restaurant and for shopping carts also in her possession. He transported her to a women’s housing facility in Stockton – Inner City Action Housing — where she could receive the help she needed and to get her off the streets.
Carraway cited at least two campers for trespassing on the state owned right-of-`way with one of them, Jessie Martinez, leaving the scene as the officer said he was writing the citation. The officer looked for Martinez on the nearby surface streets but to no avail saying he had never had a man walk away from him before.
Kelly said the Manteca Police Department had been receiving a number of phone calls from the public all morning, urging that the city do something about the unsafe condition on the off ramp with the ever increasing number of encampments around the community. Caltrans crews were expected to pick up the remnants left at the site sometime this morning.
At one point items belonging to the homeless were stacked on an adjoining sidewalk partially blocking a handicapped ramp at the crosswalk.
Kelly added that later in the day a Good Samaritan had dropped off bags of clothes for the homeless on one of the picnic tables at Wilson Park behind the Manteca Post Office – hoping the homeless would take what they needed. The homeless gather up against the easterly fence in the park where they stay most of every day socializing.
Kelly explained that the homeless do not need clothes or blankets that people bring them because the police department working with the Hospice of San Joaquin Hope Chest thrift store in the 200 block of South Main provides them with needed clothes at no cost. The donated clothes go mostly unclaimed by the homeless, Kelly said, and end up being strewn about the park area creating more of a mess.
“They’re not helping the situation,” Kelly said of the Good Samaritans.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.