Lompoc City Council to Discuss Homeless Camps in Riverbed

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By edhat staff

The Lompoc City Council is set to discuss the cleanup and management of homeless encampments in the riverbed during Tuesday evening's meeting.

City Manager Jim Throop sent an agenda item to discuss the current status of the Santa Ynez Riverbed clean-up, homeless encampments, and ongoing maintenance and security required to defray re- encampment and littering.

In the Fall of 2018, the Lompoc Police Department identified 60-75 encampments and 60-80 individuals illegally camping in the riverbed. The individuals were relocated to a 30-day triage center to receive services and be placed either in homeless shelters, substance abuse residential programs, reunified with family, housing, and in some cases, they refused services and moved on while vacating the Riverbed. In many cases, law enforcement action was necessary to remove individuals from the Riverbed encampments, according to Throop's agenda item.

From September 2018 to January 2019 the cost of the clean-up effort totaled $488,613. The cost for the 30-day triage center had been estimated at $35,000, however, from September 10, 2018 to October 11, 2018 the Triage Center costs totaled $70,000.

"Since the evictions, relocation, and clean-up that concluded in October 2018, the Riverbed became a place where recreation, walking, biking, trail walking and scenic enjoyment could occur again. The City received many compliments from residents and business owners regarding the safety of the Riverbed and surrounding area following the clean-up," wrote Throop.

However, due to a lack of investment in enforcement, the Riverbed has been re-inhabited with illegal campsites. In January 2020, there were approximately 10-15 camps with 10 actively inhabited with approximately 20 homeless persons illegally residing there. Since January 2019, there have been 15 fires, 5 smoke/odor investigations, and 6 medical responses. 

It's estimated the cost for clean-up for the current Riverbed status is $128,820, but it does not include a triage center as previously utilized in the 2018 clean-up. An estimated $300,000 would also be required for ongoing maintenance and patrol from the Lompoc Police Department.

Throop stated there are many moving parts involved in the cleanup, ongoing maintenance, and prevention, but the benefits of watershed and drinking water source protection, reduction in fire hazard from, assistance to law enforcement and increased public safety outweigh those costs. 


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a-1582053136 Feb 18, 2020 11:12 AM
Lompoc City Council to Discuss Homeless Camps in Riverbed

The Lompoc City Council has a huge problem here and can't keep playing the Shell & Pea game hoping it's going to stop appearing by moving the trash & camps that keep popping up all over the river bottom & in the nearby park. Come on Council & do your job! You were all elected to help the community, not think problems are going to disappear or somebody else or some other entity will solve them.

a-1582058256 Feb 18, 2020 12:37 PM
Lompoc City Council to Discuss Homeless Camps in Riverbed

Look at the mess on County property visible from the 246 across from Mosby's (which is another story for squalor and mess). Where is Peter Adam and the County to clean up this mess. This only appeared a few months ago. Bridgehouse has reported the mess but only a small amount was cleaned up. There was another camp about 5 feet above the 246. They chased out the homeless but all the junk is still there, again in full view of the passing cars. Looks like Santa Maria knows how to clean up their riverbed mess. Why can't Lompoc do likewise.

CoastWatch Feb 18, 2020 02:11 PM
Lompoc City Council to Discuss Homeless Camps in Riverbed

...I like how Mosby from Lompoc was telling the SYV Bicycling Coalition, who is trying to have a SY River bike path, that you "can't just make a bike trail along the River, it's not ecologically sound..." HA! But vagrants [email protected], trashing,drugging camping and starting fires along the Santa Ynez River is O.K..... Yeah, right.

a-1582084176 Feb 18, 2020 07:49 PM
Lompoc City Council to Discuss Homeless Camps in Riverbed

At the rate Lompoc's City Council is NOT doing anything to help the citizens, there's going to be a recall breathing down their collective backs sooner than they can all say "Homeless."

a-1582130390 Feb 19, 2020 08:39 AM
Lompoc City Council to Discuss Homeless Camps in Riverbed

They should also discuss their Christmas tree decorations. Every time I drive through Lompoc during the holidays I note they have been using the same decorations on light poles since the 70's. It looks better not putting up any decorations.

a-1582235115 Feb 20, 2020 01:45 PM
Lompoc City Council to Discuss Homeless Camps in Riverbed

It's Lompoc! Everything about it has that 2nd hand appearance.

Check it out the next time you drive into town from any direction. Even the streets are in poor condition let alone everything else.

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