Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach title=
Andrew cleaning up Haskell's site (Photo Credit: Andrew Velikanje)
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Source: Heal the Ocean

Another abandoned homeless camp got cleaned out – a big one at Haskell's Beach near the Bacara Resort. This time the operation involved an unusual combination of talent: Bacara Resort official Mitch Vargas and Santa Barbara County Sheriff Ben Sandu, who is also the Community Resource Deputy for the City of Goleta, who contacted Heal the Ocean, who contacted Brian Borgatello of MarBorg Industries – and finally the most unusual participant of all in this project is a former resident of the camp who is now living with a roof over his head, and who now cleans up every piece of junk he can get his hands on.

This is Andrew Velikanje (pronounced “Vela-can-JEE”), who, in the end of the Haskell's project, got tired of waiting for everyone to get it together, and on a recent day, went out to the camp and bagged it up himself for easy pickup by MarBorg today, Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

Andrew came to the project through Hands Across Montecito, the group operating on the “Functional Zero” tactic of getting to know each homeless individual as a person with a story, rather than a thing to shuffle somewhere else. The group, led by Sharon Byrne (who is also Montecito Association Executive Director), has had considerable success housing formerly houseless people living about in the shrubbery of the Montecito community.

Andrew is a Hands Across Montecito protégé, and he now spends his days cleaning up shorelines, roadsides, beaches, the Bird Refuge – and even Highway 154. He has cleaned up the shoreline of Lake Cachuma so many times the powers that be at Lake Cachuma are considering giving him a permanent pass to be there as much as he wants. He has formed a new business, Earthcomb, with videos he posts on YouTube. (This live link shows him cleaning up Highway 154 before hitting the Haskell's camp (at film marker 1:26). Andrew hauls hundreds of pounds of trash per day from everywhere and anywhere.

For Andrew, to beautify the former spot where he used to camp outdoors with others is truly the definition of Coming Full Circle.

Thank you, Andrew…And also, thank you Sheriff Ben Sandu, and Brian Borgatello!

L to R: Sheriff Ben Sandu, Andrew, & Brian Borgatello. Photo by Hillary Hauser.
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a-1626310959 Jul 14, 2021 06:02 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

Not anymore. Andrew and the Hands team and Parks and Rec cleaned that camp out 3 weeks ago. The dude occupying it is a Montecito local, and has a very interesting backstory. He has $. He just won't use it to go indoors.

CanyonKid Jul 15, 2021 03:49 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

Correct, it is in the hedges, closest to the beach. Very hard to miss when approaching from the meadow-side. The same guys living inside the encampment stole my daughters bike last year from the trail head.

LooseCannon Jul 14, 2021 03:26 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

Uhhh, grreat.

So...the unhoused people were assigned homes? Their personal belongings were respected and not thrown in the trash? I'm not quite ready to join the chorus of celebrants here until I am reassured that the persons "evicted" from public lands are receiving social services.

It sounds like uncompassionate fascism to me.

bicyclist Jul 14, 2021 03:57 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

LC - I think it's called "Reading is fundamental"...
I read this as: Andrew was "Saved" so he's returning the favor by cleaning up OTHERS liter, here; 154; lake C... -> https://earthcomb.org/
... nice rant though

pstarSR Jul 14, 2021 04:08 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

I think loose missed this part also. so here it is
"Andrew came to the project through Hands Across Montecito, the group operating on the “Functional Zero” tactic of getting to know each homeless individual as a person with a story, rather than a thing to shuffle somewhere else."

Bird Jul 14, 2021 05:29 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

The story also said the camp was. “abandoned”.

And how long may one stay on public land? If I go camp at Cachuma or on East Beach is the county and the city prohibited from making me leave?

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 14, 2021 04:40 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

No joke. An accidental needle-stick from a used hypodermic could change your life forever. Exercise extreme caution when approaching or attempting to clean these camps. Leave this work to professionals that have some experience dealing with the hazards.

Henry Sarria Jul 14, 2021 04:08 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

I had to do a similar clean up in the Tecolotito Creek Nature Preserve here in Goleta last summer around this time & not gonna lie, full Tyvek suit, N95 mask & double nitrile gloves.
It was a mess left behind by a dude who calls himself "Survivor" & that mess included hypodermic needles & used syringes.
No kidding, it was a hell of a mess, but it had to be removed. The choice to do that cleanup was all ine & if I have to do it again, yeah, I would.
Thank you to these fine folks for their work & effort, it's a welcome thing & I highly appreciate all that was done there!

BonBonaroo Jul 14, 2021 04:45 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

Thank you Ben and Brian and a HUGE THANK YOU TO ANDREW for stepping up and cleaning up your former camp. Most people in our community look down on the homeless and have pre conceived thoughts/stigma that every homeless person is a bad person , they think they are criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics, theifs, etc. I too was homeless over the past 20 years. I recently was housed and im so grateful for it.. However speaking from experience, I can say yes that the homeless stigma does apply to SOME of the homeless in our community, but NOT ALL HOMELESS people fall in to that stigma. The people in our community and throughout the USA don't stop to think that the homeless weren't raised to be homeless, they use to live in homes, prior to becoming homeless. Many have experiened such severe traumatic events in their life, like any/all types of violence, rape, molestation, etc. it affects their mental health, and safety, other people suffer from un-treated mental health conditions like schizophrenia, bi-polar, depression, medical conditions, job loss from the COVID 19, low paying jobs, the economy in itself can causes a person to be homeless too. It has been said that most people are just 1 paycheck away from becoming homeless, so before you judge a homeless person, try and put yourself in their shoes, remember we are all children of God!!

sacjon Jul 15, 2021 10:24 AM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

EDNEY - thank you for posing such helpful questions. This is what we should be doing - asking those who have succeeded in getting off the streets what actually helps. Instead of constantly bashing them and letting our murderous and inhumane fantasies run wild, we should be trying to find out how to help. No one wants to waste money on useless programs. Let's work with them to find what they need to get out of the camps and off of the streets!

Ahchooo Jul 15, 2021 01:03 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

I’d like to hear more firsthand accounts of what helped get each individual out of homelessness. I realize that each person’s situation is different, but we could learn from the successes, and we’d also feel more encouraged to keep trying. I’d also like to see more research on schizophrenia and other very serious mental illnesses.

NostraChumash Jul 15, 2021 01:39 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

Well, for me,
(housed 6mos now), it was all about sacrifice.
I had a 3bd house in a private community, a business
( S.B. Chumash tour), nice cars & money...then cancer (from time in Army) .
I lost everything & ended up living my car to recover.
It took 5 years to regain some degree of health..with no help, no medications, no hotel stays, no cooking facilities (eating raw was better though),..& ptsd.
And keeping my eye on the ball through it all..wanting to quit a thousand times, but being too stubborn to do so..Prior-military Virgo & such.
Again..Sacrifice.
Notice that I did'nt mention prayer & ceremony.
That's between Kakunupmawa & myself, but, the
Great mystery behind the Sun
sees my offerings.
Thnx for asking.

ZeroHawk Jul 14, 2021 04:56 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

funny, that camp has been there for months and is occupied regularly by college kids, surfers, people fishing at night and people on the beach during the day.....yeah they did a great job....lol

sacjon Jul 15, 2021 10:02 AM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

ZERO - yeah, didn't look like your typical "homeless camp," but more like a shared space. Haskell's, due to its distance from the city, isn't really a "favorite" of the homeless. In all my days and evenings out there, I've never seen a homeless person.

ZeroHawk Jul 15, 2021 03:19 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

"clean" it? you mean take other peoples possessions and surf boards? because they come back for them. lol kinda obvious....and this wasn't a homeless camp. just like Saj mentioned, this isn't near downtown or a freeway exit or supermarkets for them to ask for change at. this is remote. this was not nor was ever a homeless camp. Haskulls is a locals only surf spot and beach party spot. it's remote, away from police and sherrif deputies. its where teens and college kids and locals go to surf. so again, why didn't i "clean it"? It wasn't trash those items belong to people and that spot is once again occupied with a few chairs and a boogie board. it's there now. i was there last night surfing. where were you? oh yeah you don't go out there.

oops Jul 14, 2021 06:12 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

Thank you for cleaning up the city & county's mess....again!! They moved to near the mobile home park by Goleta beach...again!! It's a complete farce what goes on.

If SB really wanted to attract more downtown visitors, they would come through with street & sidewalk sweepers/pressure washers (using reclaimed water disinfectant) 3 times a week to get rid of the urine & crap smell, at the same time pushing out the people camping on the streets out. this current situation is totally unacceptable, the social welfare & tolerance has to stop .

Minibeast Jul 14, 2021 09:54 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

" He has cleaned up the shoreline of Lake Cachuma so many times the powers that be at Lake Cachuma . . ." ---------------- As a person who doesn't shy away from picking up trash ( today i snagged part of a credit card, one plastic bottle, part of a candy wrapper and a huge pile of some dog owner's dog s--t) --------I appreciate anyone who works at keeping our planet free from litter. But, and I ask this out of pure curiosity ------ Why aren't Lake Cachuma "powers that be" picking up the lake litter? People visiting the lake are so trashy that the admin/operations crew can't keep up? Litter is allowed to lie around, in hopes some guy like Andrew will come along and volunteer to clean it all up? What's the deal?

edney Jul 15, 2021 09:45 AM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

I've cleaned settlements on private land.
Needles, rats, rusty stuff, feces, maggots, wet flies landing on you. The whole place looks like ground zero of hepatitis, tetanus, MRSA
We found plastic bladders filled with urine and tubes used to circumvent the whiz quiz.
The deputy said that those usually belong to parolees and people on probation who are not allowed to use drugs as a condition of release

popcorn Jul 15, 2021 10:36 AM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

I'm with you, Bobonaroo, Sacjon + Edney. Your comments bring to mind thoughts by Longfellow: "If we could know the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each person's life sorrow + suffering enough to disarm all hostility."

biguglystick Jul 15, 2021 12:48 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

We will be cleaning up homeless camps FOREVER, unless we do something about getting these people the help they need, and doing something about the massive insane housing crisis that we are in the midst of.

Byzantium Jul 15, 2021 01:41 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

You are not in the midst of a "massive insane housing crisis". You are in a failed choice of location for your own housing needs and abilities. Every single house in this entire area is affordable, for the person w ho buys it. They experience no "housing crisis". Therefore, if you can't afford housing the market passed you by and you need to do better market research in the future.

PitMix Jul 15, 2021 03:42 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

Byz, every community needs service people. Landscapers, waiters, plumbers, electricians, etc. Does it make sense to develop a community of relatively rich people and then expect all of the people supporting them to drive up to 70 miles each way to get to work? Is that sustainable for the climate?
It seems to me that you are ignoring the realities of the current unsustainable situation.

RudyRudyRudy Jul 15, 2021 03:55 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

Active encampment for the past 2 weeks in the Elwood preserve around the most beautiful majestic tree on the bluffs. Tents and garbage around the trunk may ultimately take the life of this 100 year old Goleta treasure. Police have been notified but have not been successful in moving them from the bluff to a less environmentally sensitive location. Sad to watch unfold.

nikkizangie Jul 15, 2021 08:17 PM
Abandoned Homeless Camp Removed From Haskell’s Beach

This is great! Its nice to know someone cares to help. I can tell you from personal experience that every community isnt as caring as this. I have been in a situation myself with my child and never received any help. I do everything on my own because I knew otherwise we would never get back on track. So kudos to all who have helped people in such a terrible situation. Its nice to see that. It also helps build a stronger community. God Bless you all. Best wishes.

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