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Homeless ousted from encampments along Prado Rd. in San Luis Obispo

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 24, 2022

Several homeless people who had pitched tents along Prado Rd. in San Luis Obispo were evicted from the area on Monday.

The homeless residents had set up tents along the road, across the street from the 40 Prado homeless shelter.

San Luis Obispo Police Sgt. Bryan Treanor says notices were posted a week ago, warning people living in the area that they would need to move on.

Police were on scene Monday afternoon to enforce the order.

"Out of all the people that were out here, only one refused to leave the property," Sgt. Treanor said, noting that the individual was arrested. "He was cited and released down at our station."

Police say the evictions had to do with safety since the area is near the water treatment plant and a construction site.

"With all the camps being so close to the road and the amount of people who were out here - we have several big trucks going back to the plant and the other construction site that's back there - very dangerous for these residents to be this close to the street," Sgt. Treanor said.

Hope's Village founder and president Becky Jorgeson was also at the scene on Monday to advocate for the homeless.

"We've been trying for ten years to find a legal place for people in tents to be," Jorgeson said. "Many of them are not eligible for the services that are offered, even though other places will tell you they offer services all the time."

Jorgeson says it's the third time in recent weeks that people have been ousted from their encampments.

Two weeks ago, homeless individuals who were living along the Bob Jones Bike Trail between Prado Road and Los Osos Valley Road were forced to move out of the area after the city closed the trail to make safety improvements. The area has been fenced off for construction and it's expected to remain closed until sometime in March.

Jorgeson says she wants the city to provide a legal encampment for the homeless but her efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

"This has been going on for the ten years that I've been doing outreach, so we finally filed a lawsuit against the city," she said.

In September, California Rural Legal Assistance filed a lawsuit on behalf of Hope's Village and several homeless individuals, claiming that the City of San Luis Obispo unlawfully broke up homeless encampments during the pandemic and illegally seized and destroyed homeless people's property, ultimately violating their constitutional rights.

The city has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

"While some may disagree with our policy choices, case law supports the legality of the City's ordinances, and the facts reveal that we enforce them with a balance of compassion for people and accountability for harmful conduct," City Attorney Christine Dietrick said in a press release issued in December.

A hearing on the city's motion is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2022.