homeless encampment

Photo from Beaumont Police Department, via Facebook

An officer investigates a homeless encampment last June.

BY DAVID JAMES HEISS

Record Gazette

Beaumont has awarded contracts for three companies to assist in cleanup of homeless encampments when they are discovered within the city.

Similar to Beaumont’s arrangement with its weed abatement contractors, the city awarded more than one contract so that when one company that is contacted is busy, the city can move along to the next approved contractor for efficiency.

Community Services Director Elizabeth Gibbs told city council members at their Sept. 15 meeting that staff prefer to have a pool of companies to select from, in case one is unavailable at the time they are called.

“We don’t have a high number of homeless encampments, but they require a high level of expertise due to biohazards,” Gibbs said.

According to City Manager Todd Parton, last year Beaumont was aware of 17 “certifiable” homeless people living within city boundaries.

Bloomington-based Environmental Logistics, Inc., North Hollywood-based Woods Maintenance Services, Inc., and Norwell, Mass-based Clean Harbors, who has regional offices in Compton and Highland, were awarded contracts.

“Encampments are commonly filled with garbage, human feces and urine, hypodermic needles and other insanitary conditions” that Clean Harbors feels its seven years of disinfection and sanitation experience in California can benefit Beaumont, the company said in its application.

Woods Maintenance Services, a 45 year-old company that started out providing janitorial and graffiti abatement services, and in 2009 added clean-up services of homeless encampments.

Environmental Logistics emphasizes recycling efforts, and ensures that personal property that is collected is tagged and stored in the event that its owners can reclaim them.

The city stated that the services would be provided for city-owned land only; homeless encampments that develop on private property will be the responsibility of the property’s owner.

Services would be provided on an on-call basis.

The expenses associated with homeless encampment cleanup services would be absorbed by the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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