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City removes homeless encampments from river bed

Three-day cleanup effort took place Oct. 13-15

Hollister city staff removed numerous “illegal encampments” and truckloads of garbage from the San Benito River bed in a coordinated cleanup effort last week. Credit: Hollister Police

City of Hollister crews removed more than 16 homeless encampments and a dozen truckloads of garbage from the San Benito River bed over a three-day period last week, according to authorities. 

The “coordinated cleanup event” was conducted by the city’s public works, utilities and code enforcement staff, as well as the Hollister Fire Department and Police Department, says a press release from Hollister PD. 

The homeless encampments had been tagged as illegal structures on Oct. 8 by Hollister Code Enforcement Officer Desiree Martinez, says the press release. Martinez had located and posted notices on numerous illegal encampments in the San Benito River bed from the Fourth Street bridge to Apricot Lane. 

Martinez contacted transient residents in the area and advised them they had to vacate the area and take their belongings, authorities said. 

On Oct. 13, city staff “converged in the area to begin the cleanup,” says the press release. Mental health professionals and assistance providers were on site for anyone in need of services. 

Over three days, the cleanup resulted in the removal of 16 encampments, 14 truckloads of garbage and one ton of metal, police said.