MANTECA (CBS13) — The homeless problem in Manteca has reached the point where the police chief is bringing out new rules, but questions remain whether that plan will be effective.
For years, families know when they go to Library Park, they’ll be sharing it with the homeless—the families stay on one side and the homeless on the other.
Just steps from where Pam Shelton’s daughter and niece run around is where the homeless like James Escobar hang out.
“They’re sleeping on whatever they can find, staggering around and sometimes have carts with them,” she said.
Recently, city leaders say they’ve seen an increase in the homeless population, especially at Library and Wilson parks. Garbage is left behind, the smell of urine is more noticeable and there’s even prostitution.
“There’s all kinds of stories about the bathrooms that you don’t want to know about 42,” Shelton said.
For the last month, Manteca Police have cracked down on the homeless with any ordinance they can.
Now the police chief has a plan to propose even stricter laws, including a ban on homeless encampments, animals at the parks, and collecting recyclables from containers. Also, restrooms will be closed temporarily and there are possible clothing requirements and changes to seats.
Escobar says he sleeps wherever he can, but he’s recently felt pressure from police. He says he was recently arrested for having alcohol in an open bottle.
But after that arrest, he says he walked out of jail and came right back to Library Park.
“And I walked all the way back,” he said. “It took me three hours.”
The chief will present his proposal of stricter laws to the City Council on Tuesday, and also reaching out to groups who can help the homeless find housing.