STOCKTON — Homelessness poses challenges in almost every community across California and for some counties, like San Joaquin, which doesn’t have the resources to handle their own homeless populations, it can mean people living on the streets right next to family homes.
Formerly homeless herself, Justina de los Angeles said even she is fed up.
“People fight a lot, the dogs are barking, just traffic in and out. I have no idea if it’s drug-related or not,” she told FOX40.
Right outside her Stockton home sits tents and garbage, as well as clothes hanging along the fence. It is all part of a large homeless encampment that she and her 3-year-old son can see from right outside their window.
One homeless woman was even caught on cameras dropping her pants and going to the bathroom in plain sight of her child. De los Angeles said that was the last straw.
“Having people defecate and urinate by your home when you have a small child watching, it’s not OK,” she said.
“The issue is right now there’s no real place for people to go,” said John Mendelson, the chairman of the San Joaquin Continuum of Care, the umbrella organization that deals with homelessness in the county.
Mendelson told FOX40 the county would need to triple its emergency shelter beds to house everyone on its streets. That means a large portion of homeless people have no choice but to be outside.
“The shelters are at or over capacity. Permanent housing programs that we have are fully subscribed,” he explained.
For far too many people there are too few options.
De los Angeles has already called police, the sheriff’s office, city and county officials. She said no one has been able to help.
While she sympathizes with those on the streets, de los Angeles also said for her family’s sake, something needs to be done.
“Put them in a place where you can make an environment for them so they’re not near residential areas where there’s kids,” de los Angeles said.
She challenges county officials to answer her desperate call.
San Joaquin County does have a homeless encampment response team but de los Angeles said often the camps are back up a few days after they’re cleared out.