NewsLocal News


Thousands of pounds of trash removed from homeless encampment in Santa Maria

Posted at 5:14 PM, Apr 01, 2022

Santa Maria city officials say a recent cleanup resulted in the removal of 62,000 pounds of trash from a homeless encampment on Santa Maria Valley Railroad property.

The area borders neighborhoods from West Depot Street to Blosser Road.

City officials say the railroad company reached out to the city for help, and the cleanup project became a priority for the city after it received multiple complaints about noise, fires, vandalism, theft, digging, and trash odors coming from the encampment.

"Notice to vacate" signs were reportedly placed in the area at least 72 hours before the cleanup with information on shelter, food, and counseling resources.

City officials say three people at the encampment were reconnected with their families for housing. The rest of the people there declined offers for shelter.

This photo, provided by the City of Santa Maria, was taken after the cleanup of a homeless encampment on Santa Maria Valley Railroad property.

The city worked with the railroad, nonprofit partners, several businesses, two apartment complexes, and a cleanup company to clear the area.

Officials say the railroad and nearby businesses and apartment owners are now making improvements to their properties to dissuade further encampments. That includes the removal of overgrown ivy on an apartment block wall that was used as cover.

The cost of the cleanup was approximately $16,000. It was paid for with American Rescue Plan Act funds.