The number of homeless people in California increased by more than 20% over the last few years. You might think that the homeless aren’t a problem for you because you live in La Quinta, which is a wealthy community in Riverside County. With employers such as Target and Walmart having high turnover rates, the number of people living on the streets in your city rise nearly every week. The problem became even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic that led to more people sleeping on the streets. A professional cleaning company can assist you with homeless encampment cleaning in La Quinta to take care of the biohazards and other messes that they leave behind.

What Is a Homeless Encampment?

While you might see one or two homeless people when you walk down the street, the legal definition of an encampment is a place where multiple individuals or families gather. These people often sleep and live in small groups as a way to protect and support each other. California has many homeless shelters and programs that assist them, but they may not have the resources necessary to get that help. In addition to sleeping on the street, homeless people may sleep in tents that they set up or lean-to structures.

The Homeless Problem

As a La Quinta property owner, you already know some of the problems that the homeless can have on their community. One of the greatest is that they lower property values. People who would otherwise buy homes and commercial buildings in the city are more likely to buy property elsewhere because they don’t want to see people living on the streets. Some of the people who are homeless also suffer from drug or alcohol problems as well as mental health conditions. This can cause them to leave behind dirty needles or shout at people who pass them.

Drug and Alcohol Use

Though no one likes to admit it, many people who are homeless lost their jobs and homes because of substance abuse. While some people wind up on the streets because they lost their homes in the California wildfires or lost their jobs, some wind up homeless because they suffer from substance abuse. Encampments are the perfect place for substance abusers to use drugs, including crack cocaine and heroin. While using those drugs, they do not care about the health and safety of the area or anyone around them, which can result in them tossing dirty needles on the ground and leaving behind remnants of their drugs. Broken bottles are a common sight.

Urine and Feces

Homeless encampments are often a cesspool of urine and feces too, including both human and animal waste. Have you ever seen a homeless person on the street with a dog or cat? That animal must use the bathroom in the same place that its human does. Those living on the streets may try to contain their waste in a specific area, but others will go wherever they want. Anyone who comes into contact with that waste can transfer germs and bacteria onto other surfaces that they touch as well as their families.

Why You Need Professional Help

Many cities in California cracked down on homeless encampments over the last few years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, California hotels came together to offer free hotel rooms to local residents as a way to keep them safe. You might find that you need to clean a former encampment when the people move to a hotel or the city closes down the camp. Don’t consider doing all the cleaning yourself or hiring a small crew to clean it. Cleaning those camps will require the use of proper safety gear as well as expensive equipment.

Cleaning Homeless Encampments

Cleaning is the first step required before you can open a former homeless encampment to the general public. The California Health Department has regulations in place regarding the proper cleaning of a biohazard as well as what to do with the materials removed from it. Any physical items that came into contact with biohazard waste are dangerous. It must be thoroughly cleaned and stored in plastic bags before disposal. This step may involve the removal of dead animals as well as tents and clothing.

Sanitizing the Camp

Would you want to buy a new home where several people squatted? Those squatters do not have access to running water or power, which is why they left the house a mess. Homeless encampments are just as bad because those who live there often do not care about their environment. That is why the camp must be sanitized before anyone can live or work there. This involves the use of commercial cleaners and sanitizing products that remove germs and any other pathogens. The right products ensure that no one who ever visits the former camp will come into contact with those materials.

Getting Rid of Homeless Encampments

With multiple shelters in La Quinta and dozens of programs available across the state, no one has any excuse to live on the streets. These programs offer assistance in the form of housing vouchers, clothing, food and places where people can stay for one or more nights. La Quinta took steps to shut down several homeless encampments recently, including those in local parks and neighborhoods. Once they leave, those former camps must go through different stages or phases to make sure that each space is suitable for others later. With proper cleaning and sanitizing of a homeless encampment, you can feel secure that the former camp can serve others. That camp might have a second life as a new restaurant or store as well as a business that helps the residents of La Quinta and surrounding communities.