City of Auburn Putting Together Task Force to Address Homeless Issues

AUBURN -- Volunteers are needed by the city of Auburn to help identify and address solutions for the growing problems related to the homeless population.

"We certainly know we're not going to solve the situation, we want to learn how to manage the situation a little better for the community," said Auburn City Councilman Matt Spokely

"This task force will be made up of residents, business leaders and other public safety officials to really try and get a good handle of who the population is and how we can help them, but also how we can enforce these policies," said Auburn City Councilman Daniel Berlant.

Policies related to illegal campsites, aggressive panhandling and drug use.

"The crime rate is up. The visual problem of transients detours people from wanting to come to our community, and we rely heavily on tourism, so we need to do more," Berlant said.

By the end of the month, the city hopes to have the 11-person Transient and Homeless Task Force in place. And within four months, the hope is to have a detailed report to the council on solutions and funding requests to address the identified issues.

"We're not going to solve the problem of homelessness overnight, but can we figure out ways so that we are policing the issues consistently among the other communities around us," Berlant said.

And that goes for Placer County as well.

Within the city of Auburn, there is one county-run homeless shelter to the north. The situation of dealing with the population, according to the city, has presented a separate issue -- one they say needs fixing.

"When they increase patrols and increase efforts, the population pushes our way. When we increase patrols and efforts with the Auburn City Police Department, the population pushes back toward the county. So, we need to work together to figure out how to manage the situation the best," Spokely said.

It's not a simple fix. There are a number of homeless that simply won't take advantage of the programs offered, so the city believes the law needs to be enforced a little stronger and a little better than in the past.