The cleanup in the Santa Ynez Riverbed in Lompoc is officially underway as some of the people evicted from the riverbed still look for a place to live.
About a month ago, the city’s police chief asked people to open their homes to the homeless. Now, after a woman was found sleeping in a garage off North E Court, neighbors are questioning whether they’re safe doing projects around their homes.
“Right now, I’m getting ready to reset some block on a fence and I’m probably gonna have my garage door open for a while, wandering back and forth between the front and the back. After (what happened), I could see where that could be a mistake,” said neighbor Stephen Hoard.
Some say this is not the first time they’ve had problems with strangers coming onto their street.
“Yes, we’ve seen that – people we don’t recognize – and we’ve had theft here as well – a battery from me as well as a water feature on my front lawn,” said neighbor Chris Allen.
The City of Lompoc is still actively trying to figure out how to get a handle on the riverbed situation.
Meanwhile, the manager of the Bridge House homeless shelter says there are a lot of people coming in who were evicted from the riverbed and the shelter makes accommodations if there is space.
Some neighbors suggest maybe the city could offer the homeless jobs cleaning up the town to help get them back on their feet.
“They could be used to clean up trash, pull weeds, you know, just to clean up Lompoc because this is a nice community if people would maintain it,” Hoard said.
The city says it could be a long process to remove all of the trash from the riverbed, and city leaders are still requesting state and federal funding to help with the cleanup.