A national retail chain store with a location in Riverside, contacted Eco Bear recently. The store needed our biohazard remediation professionals to assist in cleaning up a site that had been contaminated due to trespassing and other conduct by people who are unhoused.
The store maintained its trash bins in a fenced, gated, and locked area behind the shop. Unfortunately, that setup was insufficient to keep people from improperly accessing and misusing the trash bin storage space behind the store. In a moment, we explore some basic facts about homelessness and unhoused persons in the state of California.
Overview of Homelessness in California
Homelessness is a significant issue in California, with the state having the largest homeless population in the United States. As part of understanding the work of Eco Bear in remediating the commercial trash storage area in Riverside, a quick overview of statistics related to homelessness is helpful:
- As of January 2020, an estimated 161,548 people experiencing homelessness in California. This number is more than the entire population of many cities in the United States.
- Nearly 70% of California’s homeless population are unsheltered, meaning they live on the streets or in makeshift shelters. This is a significant increase from previous years, and it is a cause for concern given the harsh living conditions that homeless people face.
- The number of homeless individuals in California has increased by 16.4% since 2019. This alarming increase indicates that efforts to address homelessness in California are falling short.
- In Los Angeles County, the number of homeless individuals increased by 12.7% from 2019 to 2020. This significant increase can be attributed to a lack of affordable housing and other economic factors.
- The majority of homeless individuals in California are male, making up around 66% of the total homeless population. This is a trend that is seen across the United States, where men are more likely to experience homelessness than women.
- Homelessness disproportionately affects people of color, with Black and Hispanic individuals being overrepresented in California’s homeless population.
- Homelessness has a significant impact on public health in California. Homeless individuals are more likely to suffer from a range of health issues, including mental illness, substance abuse, and infectious diseases. This puts a strain on public health resources and highlights the need for more comprehensive and accessible healthcare for homeless individuals.
The Grim Reality of Homeless Encampments and Similar Spaces
There can be some pretty significant misconceptions associated with unhoused people occupying public spaces, including parks and areas attached to commercial ventures like the store in Riverside our company was called upon to assist. A good many people are unaware of the significant biohazardous contamination that follows the occupation of public and similar spaces by unhoused people. The state of affairs in the store’s garbage bin stowage area helps to illustrate this commonplace reality.
When Eco Bear commenced work on the premises in question, there were a number of significant biohazards at the site (a situation that oftentimes is seen when homeless individuals have encamped or otherwise accessed an area and misused it). These include:
- Human feces
- Human urine
- Used hypodermic needles
In this instance, Eco Bear was engaged to remove trash, eliminate biohazardous materials, and ultimately disinfect the entire space to make it safe for store workers and members of the community more broadly. When it came to removal of trash and biohazardous materials, Eco Bear arranged for the garbage to go to an approved sanitary landfill. Eco Bear has an ongoing relationship with a biohazardous waste disposal company and made arrangements for biohazards to be safely transported to that facility for incineration.
Costs for Cleaning and Disinfecting Commercial Trash Bin Stowage Area
When it comes to cleaning and biohazard remediation of the type undertaken for the Riverside merchant, Eco Bear always utilized transparent pricing. We always provide a reliable job estimate and never charge any additional fees or overcharges. In this case, Eco Bear conducted the needed remediation within these parameters:
- Two members of our team undertook the cleanup and remediation
- The project took six hours
- Eco Bear charged $3,000 for the job plus $100 for removing and replacing the commercial lock that had been at the location
The costs associated with the Riverside project did not have to be paid until the entire project was successfully completed. Store management had the opportunity to inspect the cleanup site and approve our work before payment became due for the project. The store did approve our work, which our team safely and thoroughly completed.