El Monte is a growing residential and industrial community in Los Angeles County, California. Nestled in the expansive San Gabriel Valley, El Monte is commonly known as the “End of the Sante Fe Trail,” as Spanish missionaries and soldiers stopped in the city for respite during the early 1800s. Now, El Monte is a vibrant and dynamic community, and is the 10th largest city in the county. El Monte maintains 10 parks and is in the process of unveiling a new water treatment plant to address growing pollution concerns in the state. 

A favorite of locals and tourists alike is the Whittier Narrows Recreation area, a 1,492-acre park with multiple fitness zones, baseball fields and children’s playing areas. El Monte is also enacting the El Monte Greenway Project, which will provide necessary updates to the city’s many existing parks, as well as the 1890s ranch style Osmond House, which is currently maintained by the El Monte Historical Society. As of the 2010 census, El Monte had a total population of 113,475. This number is expected to grow as more and more people move out of pricier cities like Los Angeles and into residential communities like El Monte, which enjoys a lower cost of living than most nearby areas. But with more development, growth and sprawl, El Monte also faces a growing concern similar to one throughout the entire United States: homelessness. 

In 2019, homelessness rose by 12% in Los Angeles County and by 24% in San Gabriel Valley. But fortunately, El Monte has devised a community-wide outreach program to get their homeless levels at a level lower than the state average. In early 2020, El Monte and two other cities received a $1.07 million grant from Measure H to fund safe, accessible housing for homeless persons living in the three communities. This funding will be an added benefit to two already-established housing complexes in El Monte: Baldwin Rose Mercy Housing and the Palo Verde apartments, which are both meant for displaced veterans and low-income families. El Monte also offers many drug and alcohol addiction resources and hopes to execute more support programs in the coming years. As more and more homeless persons begin to move into shelters such as these, there will be an increased need for homeless encampment cleanup in El Monte, CA.

Homeless Encampment Cleanup

Homeless encampments, often referred to as “tent cities” or “transient camps,” are commonly found in major cities. But, they can be found in suburban areas as well, where housing is becoming more and more expensive. Homeless encampments are typically made of makeshift or temporary housing structures spread over a wide area, but a homeless camp can also take form in groups living under a highway overpass or on sidewalks. Homeless camps are characterized as more than one homeless person living together, and can vary in size and condition. Sometimes, those who are homeless find these common environments safer than being alone on the streets. But, many also see these types of camps stunting of business and residential growth in neighborhoods, and there have been many calls nationwide to crack down on these communities. 

A Growing Concern

There is mounting evidence that, while homeless women, men and children may benefit from exposure to others facing similar issues, there are more environmental and health concerns by staying in homeless camps for a long period of time. Health is the primary motivation for closing homeless encampments, as they can be hotbeds of bacteria and biohazard materials. Overall, when local law enforcement shuts down a homeless camp, they should also provide a safe alternative for the occupants to go. There should also be a safe, lawful and comprehensive effort to restore the environment to its prior state. Unfortunately, sometimes the cleanup effort is either too in-depth or pricey for city or council agencies to take on, and in turn get tasked upon residents or homeowners. Because of this, it is necessary that a professional homeless encampment cleanup company with a track record of experience, adequate training and a comprehensive plan takes on the process instead of an individual.

Homeless Encampment Cleanup

Because homeless camps can be exposed to many different things, there are several biohazard concerns to consider during a homeless encampment cleanup. Even though there has been more effort to install restrooms at homeless camps, human waste in the form of feces and urine is still common. In addition, animal waste and carcasses are both likely in an outdoor camps, as many homeless persons have pets as sources of comfort. There may also be drugs and drug paraphernalia with bio-fluids or blood present, which must be disposed of immediately and in a safe way. In addition, litter can become a huge environmental concern if it spreads too far and contaminates water sources. A professional homeless encampment cleanup company will begin by cleaning these physical items, and then performing sanitization and restoration. When sanitizing, a homeless encampment cleanup company will use medical grade sanitization products that most members of the public don’t have access to. They will also use the proper tools, like goggles, gloves and masks or respirators, to ensure that the proper safety measures are followed.

As a last step, the homeless encampment cleanup company will restore the area as close to its original condition as possible, which is the main objective in the entire cleanup process. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the area will not return to a homeless encampment in the future, but a safe, thorough restoration will make the area usable for humans and animals alike for years to come and incentivize the area to remain that way.