Stockton’s Homeless Prepare for Eviction

STOCKTON -- Less than two days after Stockton City Councilors met to discuss a plan to help the homeless with housing and sanitary services, Caltrans evicted dozens of homeless people who were living alongside highways throughout the city.

"So a lot of people, they lose their ID, their social security cards, some people have family pictures, there's some tents that have had puppies, where they've been swept up. Live animals in the dumpster," Nicholas Burnett said.

At one time, Burnett was homeless himself. He now works in Stockton and runs a volunteer organization that helps homeless and low income families in the city, called Stockton 209 Cares.

Thursday morning he took a team of volunteers out to the campsite along Interstate 5 in Stockton and helped those living there, many of whom are his friends, moved their belongings out of that location.

"Just so what little they have, they can save instead of getting thrown away...they're just moving them somewhere else, that's all they're doing," Burnett said.

Caltrans posted the eviction notices at illegal campsites around Stockton highways Monday, given them advanced notice to remove their belongings by 7 a.m. Thursday. Those who did not comply were warned the faced citations and possible arrest, and that if any belonging were left behind they would be taken away and potentially dumped.

Burnett says he understood that Caltrans workers were just doing their job in an attempt to keep the property along Stockton highways both safe and clean, but said moving the homeless to a new location was counterproductive.

"That's where they're coming from. That they want them out from under the bridge, but if they would utilize that money instead of kicking them out every week, put that into a facility, or a shelter, it would save all that time and all those tax dollars," Burnett said.