Calabasas is approaching its 30th year as an incorporated city. Calabasas has a current population of about 25,000 residents.
As is the case through much of Southern California, Calabasas faces a number of issues associated with the homeless in the city. One of these issues involves homeless encampments.
History of Calabasas Area Homeless Encampments
Prior to the past five or six years, homeless encampments were phenomena most commonly associated with skid row, with downtown Los Angeles. All of that changed in recent years.
Rev. Andy J. Bales, the Chief Executive Officer of the Union Rescue Mission explains that homelessness can be seen in virtually any neighborhood in the greater Los Angeles area. This includes the presence of homeless encampments in virtually every city in Los Angeles County.
At the end, when a homeless encampment appears in a city like Calabasas, people start paying more attention to the plight of the homeless – and how it impacts the greater community.
Crime and Calabasas Homeless Encampments
A key reason why Calabasas homeless encampments require scrutiny is because of the rise in crime in neighborhoods where homeless encampments crop up. Not only are people who live in homeless encampments victim of crime, but residents of surrounding neighborhoods nearly always become victims as well.
In addition to neighboring residents near homeless encampments becoming victims of crime, so do area business owners. These crimes that residential and business neighbors face include theft, assault, and quality of life crimes like public urination.
Health Risks and Calabasas Homeless Encampments
Homeless encampments typically lack sanitary facilities, like functioning toilets and showers. As a consequence, residents of a Calabasas homeless encampment are left relieving themselves “in the open.”
Urine and feces contain biohazards. People that reside in homeless encampments are exposed to these dangerous biohazards, but so are people from the surrounding community.
Drug use can be fairly widespread in a homeless encampment in Calabasas. The heroine is a commonly used drug in a homeless encampment, as is cocaine and meth. There are derivations of these three drugs that are injected by a user or addict.
Needles end up being shared and contaminated. The contamination can include dangerous pathogens, including viruses like:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
The only safe way to eliminate these dangerous biohazards is to engage the professional services of trained, experienced homeless encampment cleanup specialists. As an aside, a homeless encampment cleanup specialist needs to be well versed in the ordinances governing what can and cannot be done in regard to property found at a homeless encampment.
Homeless Connect Day 2018
Each year, the City of Calabasas, the LA County Board of Supervisors Office in Calabasas, and the City of Malibu come together for Homeless Connect Day. Homeless Connect Day 2018, held at the very end of May, was considered a solid success.
Homeless Connect Day is designed to provide a one-stop, free resource allowing homeless people the ability to access different services. These include:
- Legal services
- Housing connections
Homeless Connect Day for Calabasas includes a homeless court citation clinic. The homeless population in Calabasas and elsewhere faces citations for a variety of violations with regularity. The homeless citation clinic was designed to assist these people in “wiping out” some of these citations and the associated fees and fines.
Services for Homeless People in Calabasas
There are no homeless shelters within the city limits of Calabasas. There are some shelters located about 10 miles (or a bit less) of the city, however. Similarly, there are no food pantries or so-called soup kitchens in Calabasas either. There are food pantries and soup kitchens within three to four miles from Calabasas, however.
When it comes to food assistance, some individual churches in Calabasas do maintain food pantries. Some churches also serve food as well, typically in the form of sandwiches served for a midday meal. Contacting individual churches from the Calabasas Church Directory is the best way to ascertain what a particular religious organization offers in the way of food resources and even clothing.
The Calabasas Debate Over Providing Homeless People With Tents
There is an ongoing debate about the value of providing homeless people in Calabasas tents. On the pro-tent side of the fence, people argue that providing homeless people, particularly families with young children, with tents is the humane thing to do. On the other side of the debate are people who argue that handing out tends will make some (many?) homeless people less likely to seek long term solutions to their problems. In the end, compassionate people both want homeless people to be safe and do not want them to become reliant upon quick, temporary fixes as opposed to long term solutions for their homeless status.