Notoriously liberal Berkeley, California, removes over 75 TONS of garbage, human waste and drug paraphernalia from homeless camps in just nine months
- In response to California's growing homeless problem, the city of Berkeley's attempted clean-up of one area resulted in a massive haul of trash and drugs
- There are an estimated 535 homeless people in Berkeley, a city of just over 100,000
- California Governor Gavin Newsom was accused of inviting homeless people to his state in a 2021 speech during his recall drama
- The city's famed university is facing protests after they announced plans to move homeless people from the school's land
- Nearly 70% of those the over 115,000 who left the Bay Area since 2020 cited 'homeless and mentally ill people on the streets' as a reason
Taxpayers in Berkeley, California, just across the bay from San Francisco, footed the bill for 75 tons of trash that included human waste and drug paraphernalia to be removed from homeless camps.
The garbage was collected between September 2021 and March 2022 by Berkeley's Homeless Response Team, according to the city's 2023 and 2024 prospective budget.
Homelessness increased in the city 2021 amid the Covid-19 lockdown. The budget also said that homeless shelters were 'still operating at reduced capacity due to COVID, and a legal landscape that has limited the city's ability to intervene.'
It's estimated there are 535 homeless people living in on the streets of Berkeley. Based on the city's budget, that would amount to 500 pounds of garbage per person.
The garbage was collected between September 2021 and March 2022 by Berkeley's Homeless Response Team
Homelessness increased in Berekeley in 2021 amid the Covid-19 lockdown
It's estimated that there are 535 homeless people living in on the streets of Berkeley
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, in some regions of the state 74% of people surveyed say homelessness is a big problem
Berkeley's Homeless Response Team began its activities in September 2021 after more than a year of neglect in the city's homeless camps.
During that time, the group has shut down more than a dozen homeless camps that they deemed unsafe.
In the budget, the group's actions saw them: 'Resolving conditions that included raw sewage and human waste, loose and scattered syringes and drug paraphernalia, rodents and other vector hazards, rotting food, and obstruction of sidewalks and vehicular lanes of traffic.'
In those closures, just one arrest was made.
The documents say that the city offered shelter to more than 200 homeless people, more than 160 of those refused.
Last year, another famous homeless encampment in the Golden State, Los Angeles' Echo Park, underwent a clean-up that garnered 723 pounds of biological waste that included 180 pounds of human feces. Over 200 homeless people were relocated following that clean up.
Berkeley's Homeless Response Team began its activities in September 2021 after more than a year of neglect in the city's homeless camps
Since September 2021, the group has shut down more than a dozen homeless camps that they deemed unsafe
One of the areas historically used by the city's homeless is Berkeley's iconic People's Park, the site of numerous anti war protests in the 1960s
People's Park in Berkeley, Calif., on Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Amid the drama of his impending recall election, that he won, California Governor Gavin Newsom seemed to invite the homeless community to his state, saying: 'I'm proud of people from around the world looking at California again for opportunity, and that, again, that should not just be for certain people. All people should aspire to that California dream regardless of their income level and regarding their lot in life.'
Local resident and California gubernatorial candidate Michael Shellenberger told the Washington Free Beacon said that the amount of garbage being collected reflected the harsh realities of living on the street.
He said: 'The data showing that Berkeley's homeless population is producing 500 pounds of garbage per person is yet more evidence that it is unsafe and unsanitary to allow homeless people to sleep outside,'
Shellenberger went on: 'The evidence comes just a few weeks after showing that homeless people in Los Angeles are three times more likely to die than homeless people in New York because most of the homeless in L.A. are unsheltered.'
He added: 'Newsom and Democratic mayors appear intent to use the homeless population to destroy California's once-beautiful cities because they are in the grip of an anti-civilization ideology.'
One of the areas historically used by the city's homeless is Berkeley's iconic People's Park, the site of numerous anti war protests in the 1960s.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said that the school was backing a project to rehouse homeless people living in People's Park in a converted motel
It's thought that anywhere between 40 and 70 people live in the park at any one time
The city of Berkeley will open a new 142 unit affordable apartment and shelter building in September 2022 named Berkeley War Apartments and Hope Center
The University of California at Berkeley, who own the land where the park is situated, announced plans to move homeless people away from the park in order to build student housing on the land in March 2022.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said that the school was backing a project to rehouse homeless people living in the park in a converted motel.
Christ said: 'It begins with partnership … and it also begins with the university's accepting that this is our responsibility to address the tragedy of homelessness in our midst.'
It's thought that anywhere between 40 and 70 people live in the park at any one time.
In June 2022, KTVU reported that protests were planned in order to prevent UC Berkeley from moving the homeless people away from the park.
That same month, police were called to the People's Park after a man set a couple's tent on fire and began hitting them with a golf club, reports Berkeley Side.
The same website reported that between August and December 2021, at least one homeless person was dying per month in the city.
The city of Berkeley will open a new 142 unit affordable apartment and shelter building in September 2022 named Berkeley War Apartments and Hope Center.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, in some regions of the state 74% of people surveyed say homelessness is a big problem.
While a federal government report said that there were was a decline in homelessness nationwide of 8% in 2021 but California was one of 14 states that saw an increase.
Between 2019 and 2022, Alameda County, where Berkeley is located, there was a 22% rise in homelessness, according to EveryOneHome. Only the city of Oakland has a higher share of the county's homeless.
Oakland's population is more than three times that of Berkeley.
According to a May 2022 report, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said that the city spends more 'per capita on homelessness than any other jurisdiction in the area.'
Between April 2020 and July 2021, the Greater Bay Area, which includes San Fransico, Oakland and Berkely, lost over 115,000 residents as people fled the area.
In a survey conducted by the San Francisco Examiner, nearly 70% of those who left the area cited feeling less safe due to 'homeless and mentally ill people on the streets.'
The same survey found that 88% of residents in San Francisco felt that homelessness had gotten worse.