The homeless debate at Library Park is about to become political.
Urged by citizens to have the city take steps to address homeless issues involving Library Park, Manteca Councilman Steve DeBrum Tuesday asked Police Chief Nick Obligacion to propose possible steps his department and the city could take.
“I understand the homeless have rights,” DeBrum said, adding that the community has an expectation that families and others can use Library Park without concern about intimidation and/or illegal activity.
Library Park over the years has become a day-time gathering place for Manteca’s homeless.
Complaints made by various residents in recent months include some of the homeless:
• bathing in the restroom sinks often with the doors open.
• leaving hypodermic needles in trash cans and elsewhere.
• approaching youth asking for food they receive from a Manteca Unified food service truck that stops at the park Monday through Friday for the sole purpose of feeding youth who often don’t eat well during vacation due to family financial situations.
• drinking alcohol.
• being passed out on the grass.
• making young families with children feel uncomfortable using playground equipment.
DeBrum noted police have made an effort to address the issue when available.
A few years back Manteca under took a multiple agency effort to address problems in downtown and at Library Park. It was a precursor to a $1 million park expansion and upgrade.
Now a growing number of residents say they don’t feel safe using the park in the heart of Manteca due to issues with some of the homeless that they say have taken over benches and tables plus a large segment of the park.