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Thinking they are helping homeless, they end up trashing city
City crews filled a trailer with items left by Good Samaritans at Library Park in the belief it helps the homeless. - photo by Photo courtesy City of Manteca

Manteca residents believing they are helping the homeless are trashing Library Park and other locations throughout the city.

City crews Wednesday filled a trailer full of junk that people had left at the park — primarily clothing, blankets, and similar items — thinking they are helping the homeless.

But what ends up happening is most of it gets tossed in garbage cans or strewn apart trashing Library Park, sections of downtown, numerous parks throughout the city, and other locations in Manteca.

They have even taken to leaving furniture that can never be lawfully stored by the homeless on public property. As a result the furniture always ends up being picked up and dumped and not put to good use.

Earlier this week mattresses were dumped off along Van Ryn Avenue near the area between the 120 Bypass freeway and sound walls where the homeless have illegal encampment. The mattresses ended up being hauled off.

Manteca Police community resource officers working with the homeless have in place a free voucher system. When they come across homeless individuals in need of clothing and shoes — and even at times clothing suited for job interviews they may have lined up — officers provide them with vouchers that are good for the items they need at the San Joaquin Community Hospice Hope Chest Thrift Store in the 200 block of South Main St.

That way the homeless individual is able to obtain the exact item they need in the correct size.

Typically clothes left at Library Park and elsewhere get tossed about and left on the ground after a homeless individual finds an item they may want.

The rest of the clothes are quickly soiled and end up being collected as trash. Not only does it mean the used clothing is not put to use but it creates a litter problem.

If police collect a homeless individual’s belongings that have been left behind after an illegal homeless encampment has been legally posted, they hold onto it for 90 days before trashing it. The same holds true for items belonging to a homeless individual they may arrest and book in county jail.

Wednesday’s Library Park clean up came on the heels of  MPD Officer Stephen Smith making several arrests of subjects with active warrants who were congregating in Library Park. One individual was also located smoking a controlled narcotic.

The trailer load contained items ranging from furniture, blankets, pillows, clothing, and other household items. 

A Manteca Police Department press release notes “many of these items were dropped off to subjects in the park by members of our community who were hoping to assist or provide some comfort to them. Although we appreciate the kindness and willingness of people to make donations, we would encourage them to do so through established resource organizations. 

“. . . By making these donations to established organizations for distribution, you help by ensuring people are provided with only the items they need and only the items they can care for.”  

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email