Petaluma police, homeless outreach workers clear five homeless camps

PETALUMA (BCN) — Petaluma police and homeless shelter workers cleared five large homeless encampments on vacant property in Petaluma Thursday morning, police said.

The camps on Cedar Grove Park near the banks of the Petaluma River were visited days before the abatement effort with instructions to vacate, and four homeless people who were still in the area helped clear the camps, Petaluma Homeless Outreach Services Team Officer Zilverio Rivera said.

More than 20 yards of wood debris, garbage and waste were removed from the illegal camps.

Petaluma police received a $500,000 grant from CalRecycle in December 2015 to establish a full-time police officer for two years and to dispose of the illegal encampments.

Officer Ryan DeBaeke was selected as the Homeless Outreach Services Team officer.

DeBaeke works with outreach workers from the Committee on the Shelterless, the Mary Isaak Center, Santa Rosa Catholic Charities and other service organizations that serve the homeless population.

Petaluma police added an additional full-time HOST officer in July.

Petaluma police are encouraging residents to report illegal encampments to HOST at (707) 778-4455.

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