Since the 2008 housing crisis, Southern California has had a surge in homeless encampments. Because of our specialty in handling hazardous wastes—bio hazardous (i.e. feces, urine, vomit, needles), oils, acids, aerosols—we now perform homeless encampment cleanups for some of the largest government agencies in Southern California. We currently perform Homeless cleanups for:
- Orange County Department of Public Works
- City of Downey
- City of Temple City
- City of Lakewood
- City of Inglewood
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Works
- Port of Long Beach
- City of Long Beach
- City of Covina
- City of Pico Rivera
- City of Redondo Beach
Ocean Blue has recovered thousands of syringes from homeless encampments. These are the single largest risk factor in these projects. Ocean Blue personnel are trained in the safe-handling of syringes and sharps. These dangerously infectious needles are carefully retrieved with special long reach tools and puncture proof gloves. Once recovered they are immediately placed into a medical safety container for proper disposal.
"[Regarding hypodermic Needles found at homeless camps] We once had local volunteers come out to help clean the homeless camps. The volunteer program quickly ended when one of the volunteers picked-up a bundle of trash and was poked by a potentially HIV-infected needle"
-Los Angeles Government Official
Citizens will often report the homelessness to the municipality; either joggers/bicyclists reporting the odors & unsightliness along bike paths, or home-owners reporting stolen bicycles and car break–ins. In turn with local municipalities, law enforcement and social services groups, we perform homeless encampment cleanups. At the time of writing, this year alone Ocean Blue has done over 300 homeless encampment cleanups within Southern California.
Depending on the terrain, we utilize different cleanup strategies. Near the L.A. River, were the terrain is concrete, the homeless will reside underneath bridges. The river's embankments--sometimes rocky & steep--are layered in dirty clothing, syringes, broken bottles, food and paper wastes.
In Eastern Los Angeles County, near the San Gabriel river, the terrain is very wide & natural. The homeless establish their encampments in the brush. During job walks, we can only see tents bordering a wooded area, but we can safely assume the encampment stretches into the woods. Because of the flat/dirt terrain, heavy equipment is strongly utilized. To conduct a homeless encampment we:
Statement of Procedures available upon request
Different Governments do things differently
The Homeless crisis is a currently sensitive, hot-debated issue. Among burglaries, illegal drug proliferation and class-action lawsuits, municipalities are held accountable to their respective approach towards homelessness. However the local government presides, Ocean Blue caters its services to its client's needs. Whether we perform homeless encampment cleanings for the State, County, City or Private establishments, Ocean Blue understands different agencies wish to approach homelessness in a respective form & manner. Whether it be to segregate "life-essential items", or using heavy equipment to quickly dispose loads of garbage, or waiting for Law-enforcement protection, Ocean Blue approaches each homeless encampment differently depending on the client's needs.
The Homeless and their own Government & Infrastructure
Unemployed, drug addition and mental illness are just a few ways to describe the varieties of homeless people. Interestingly enough each homeless encampments has its own, distinct anthropological footprint; the Orange County Register reports: