Echoing a familiar pattern here in Eureka, a longstanding homeless encampment located in a greenbelt area behind the Humboldt County Office of Education is scheduled to be cleared out Saturday morning, leaving residents wondering where they’ll go next.
Today the Eureka Police Department told the Outpost they planned to assist HCOE — the property owners of the site in question — in “removing trespassers” from the heavily wooded area located near the corner of Sixth Street and West Avenue. Other organizations, such as the PacOut Green Team and The People of New Directions, have taken to social media to promote their cleanup efforts or to seek further community assistance in removing trash from the site. Two giant dumpsters could be seen near the greenbelt Friday, dropped off in advance of the weekend operation.
“We are calling out EVERYONE for this cleanup!” PacOut Green Team posted on its social media channels to promote their cleanup this weekend. “This will be an amazing community collaboration and we WILL get that area cleaned out.”
Above: A post by John Shelter of The People of New Directions chronicling his teams efforts at the site
But what of the people displaced by the operation? Homeless advocates the Outpost spoke with estimate that between 50 to 70 people currently regularly dwell in area. When the Outpost visited the site Friday, one resident we spoke to, a woman in her 40s, told us she’d been staying there in a tent for about four months. Mounting medical conditions, strained relationships and persistent depression have made securing better housing difficult for her and the thought of having to relocate on top of it all seemed unbearable. When asked where she might head if she was forced to leave the area soon she did not have an answer.
“That’s the question I keep asking myself. I don’t know,” she said.
For their part, EPD told us they’d made numerous trips to the area over the past several weeks offering resources and mental health services but that residents were not eager to accept assistance from them.
The Outpost plans to attend tomorrow’s operation and follow up on this story.