Homeless encampment cleaning in Aliso Viejo, California may feel like a huge challenge if you’ve never done this type of cleaning before. Homeless encampments seem to have become a way of life in many areas as more and more people in the state have nowhere to go. Many people completely empathize with the plight of homelessness, but homeless encampments don’t make the situation better for anybody. Their temporary status means that residents are constantly moved from site to site, creating an air of instability. They’re most likely not regulated, meaning that there’s no one overseeing the sites to ensure that they’re safe to live in. 

Homeless encampments are extremely unsanitary, filled with all types of waste that can cause very serious illnesses. News stories are filled with outbreaks of diseases like hepatitis A that spread quickly through homeless encampments. One of the key reasons that this happens is because homeless encampments are filled with biohazardous waste and other types of infectious waste that make it easy for diseases to spread. 

What Is Biohazardous Waste?

Biohazardous waste is waste that contains pathogens. The term biohazardous refers to microorganisms that are dangerous to humans. Pathogens are found in all types of waste located in homeless encampments, including blood, human waste, animal waste, garbage, rotting food, drug paraphernalia, and a host of other items. 

Many people assume that diseases pass so easily through homeless encampments because people there simply aren’t clean. This isn’t necessarily true. People who live in homeless encampments don’t have access to water, refrigeration, bathroom facilities, and all of the things that they need to keep their lives, food, and bodies sanitary and clean. This creates a situation where surfaces, shared items, and other frequently used areas of the encampment become contaminated simply because people touch them. 

Who Is Responsible for Cleaning up Homeless Encampments?

The responsibility of homeless encampment cleanup generally falls under one of two areas. If a homeless encampment is located on public property, the encampment must be cleaned by the local authorities or governing body of the city or town that the encampment is located in. If the homeless encampment is located on private property, the city may remove the encampment residents or help with their removal, but the owner of the site will have to handle the cleaning. If you’re unsure as to whether or not you’re responsible for cleaning up an encampment that is located near a property you own, reach out to your local officials or give us a call so that we can look into it further.

How Are Homeless Encampments Disruptive?

Homeless encampment can be very disruptive. They’re literally located anywhere. They can be located in a business district, on a residential street, along a highway, or at a beach or park. Their very presence disrupts the natural flow of the community at large.

If a homeless encampment is located near a residential area, residents of that community may feel really uncomfortable going about their day-to-day lives knowing that an encampment full of people who they don’t know is living nearby. When homeless encampments show up near businesses, those businesses start to lose customers. Customers don’t feel comfortable walking into businesses that are located near homeless encampment sites. They’re usually put off by the sight of the encampments, and they’re very frequently turned away by the smell.

When the encampments have been vacated, the owners of the properties of the encampments were located on will most likely want to get the area cleaned up as soon as possible. We get involved and manage cleanup so that the area is restored to its original state.

What’s the General Process Involved in Cleaning up Homeless Encampments?

There are several steps that go into cleaning up homeless encampments.

  • The first thing that will happen is that the cleaning company will come out to the site and take an assessment of the area. They’ll be able to determine how big the area is and what tools we’ll need to get it clean.
  • Next they’ll need to break down the structures located on the property. When people live in homeless encampments, they build temporary shelters out of things like blankets, boxes, and anything else that can give them some sort of coverage. They break these items down and either take them to the dumpster or place them in specially sealed containers if they’ve been contaminated with biohazardous or infectious waste.
  • Next, the teams will remove all of the biohazardous waste from the site, placing it into the special bins. When cleanup is done, they’ll take that waste to a medical waste facility where it will be destroyed, usually by incineration.
  • Once all waste and junk has been removed from the site, the next step will involve cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing the site. This step will be done using special cleaners, solvents, and other cleaning tools to kill and scrub away all pathogens well thoroughly cleaning the area. The goal is to return it to the way that it looked before the encampment was erected.
  • The final step will be to take the hazardous waste and dispose of it properly. During this entire cleaning process, cleanup crews protect themselves by wearing special PPE gear that helps protect them from all of the contaminants on site. Most of this PPE is disposable, so once the site is clean, the gear is thrown away. This helps prevent cross-contamination between sites.

Give us a call if you’re struggling with what to do with homeless encampment cleanup in Aliso Viejo, California. The process can be a little bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. Our teams are available 24 hours a day whether you simply need to talk or you’re ready to go.