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July 21
2009 - Castaic resident Gidget, the Taco Bell commercial Chihuahua, dies at 15 after major stroke [story]


[KHTS] – Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputy Dan Dantice and his fellow team members, Deputy Betsy Shackelford and city of Santa Clarita Interim Community Preservation Officer, Justin Hillemann, walk up to two homeless people sleeping under a bridge.

Homeless Outreach Santa Clarita Valley“You been talking to the outreach people, did you see if they can help,” Dantice asks of the couple.

The woman who Dantice is talking to, wearing torn socks and ragged clothing, is one of four known homeless pregnant heroin addicts in the city. She and dozens of others represent a homeless community in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Dantice, Shackelford and Hillemann are part of a team which conducts ongoinghomeless outreach in the Santa Clarita Valley. They visited four illegal encampments Thursday morning in Newhall, Canyon Country and Saugus.

While Dantice talks to the couple he shares information about programs which can help them get back on their feet, Hillemann pounds a stake into the ground with a 72-hour notice to vacate the camp taped to it.

The paper reads, “notice is hereby given that by 7/27/15 at 7 a.m., the area described above shall be vacated and any persons who remain camping at the above-location will be in violation of Santa Clarita Municipal Code Section 14.06.080 which does not allow camping in the area described above.”

Homeless Outreach Santa Clarita Valley-3On Monday, subcontractors hired by the city will go to each location and hand clean each of the sites. This cleanup includes the removal of human waste, trash, tents, bicycles, mattresses and drug paraphernalia, according to officials.

“We’re offering outreach to them,” Dantice said. “I have pamphlets and cards for local outreach centers and ones located in L.A. County.”

The individuals are told that a clean-up of the site will occur within 72 hours and they cannot continue to camp illegally. Bridge to Home and L.A. County Housing representatives are usually also on hand to offer social services to the individuals.

“Some of them are in the process of getting outreach, some of them, they don’t seek the outreach and this is the lifestyle they have chosen, some of them have addiction issues,” Dantice said.“It’s difficult because it’s an individual choice for them. Some of them have gone and seeked the outreach and moved out of the wash and gotten help and some of them, unfortunately, they pack up and move to other parts in the city and sometimes out of the city.”

Dantice and other deputies visit the encampments a few times per week in addition to conducting homeless outreach and illegal encampment clean-up operations about once a month.

The Santa Clarita Valley has several programs and organizations in place to help homeless individuals, such as Bridge to Home, L.A. County Housing and Assistance League.

Many of the individuals left living in the Santa Clara Riverbed suffer from mental illness and substance addiction, Dantice said.

Homeless Outreach Santa Clarita Valley-4The addiction problems are often fed by panhandling, Dantice said. Some can make hundreds of dollars per day.

“Give (money) to the organizations that are in place to help them,” said Dantice. “By giving them money you aren’t helping them. Yeah they might go get something to eat right then but the primary want for that money is not for food or toothpaste or anything. Most of them are panhandling for their addiction.”

In this year alone, 17 individuals have been cited and two arrested during the monthly sweep. Of the two arrested, one was for a narcotics warrant, the other was for possession of metal knuckles, which is considered an illegal weapon.

Many homeless individuals have criminal records and don’t appear in court which results in warrants for their arrest, Dantice said.

“Throughout the month, we monitor areas city-wide to assess and track illegal encampments,” said Daniel Rivas, community preservation manager, in a news release. “We target the areas with the most trash for clean up each month, rotating different areas of the city. To date, we’ve cleaned up 38 sites in Valencia, 22 sites in Canyon Country, 15 sites in Newhall and seven sites in Saugus.”

A total of 82 sites have been cleaned up, which resulted in the removal of 78,550 pounds of trash within 4.07 square miles, according to a news release. The cost for the clean-up of all the sites to the city was $57,467.

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, city of Santa Clarita and Bridge to Home outreach officials are continuing to work to get homeless individuals back on their feet, Dantice said.

“Alright, good luck,” Dantice says to every homeless individual during the operation.

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56 Comments

  1. Rick Polanco Rick Polanco says:

    So glad to see the SCV S.D. staying on this major problem we have on our community. Hopefully these people get help.

  2. Rick Polanco Rick Polanco says:

    So glad to see the SCV S.D. staying on this major problem we have on our community. Hopefully these people get help.

  3. John Gilbert John Gilbert says:

    Before the internet, a Troll was someone who lived under a bridge.

  4. John Gilbert John Gilbert says:

    Before the internet, a Troll was someone who lived under a bridge.

  5. Mike Bagack Mike Bagack says:

    It’s about time. Been seeing this for years.

  6. Mike Bagack Mike Bagack says:

    It’s about time. Been seeing this for years.

  7. Jason Moller Jason Moller says:

    The officer is beautiful. I Jason Jones.

  8. Jason Moller Jason Moller says:

    The officer is beautiful. I Jason Jones.

  9. Sara Beason Sara Beason says:

    Kind of sad. I know what it’s like to be homeless. To feel scared, to not have a safe place to sleep or a shower. It sucks to know that instead of taking care of people we just tell them they can’t make a home for themselves they have to leave. Not all of them are drug addicts. Not all of them have mental illnesses. Sometimes their poverty forces their desperation and that turns them into criminals.

    I know you can’t force these people into these programs but it would help if we had a shelter – I believe we do but I’m not sure it’s still around and last I knew it wasn’t open all the time.

  10. Sara Beason Sara Beason says:

    Kind of sad. I know what it’s like to be homeless. To feel scared, to not have a safe place to sleep or a shower. It sucks to know that instead of taking care of people we just tell them they can’t make a home for themselves they have to leave. Not all of them are drug addicts. Not all of them have mental illnesses. Sometimes their poverty forces their desperation and that turns them into criminals.

    I know you can’t force these people into these programs but it would help if we had a shelter – I believe we do but I’m not sure it’s still around and last I knew it wasn’t open all the time.

  11. Get the people the help they need I do believe that you don’t choose to be homeless

  12. Don McIntire Don McIntire says:

    Sad about the amount of homeless here in ScV,,the bad part is there’s several of them that are causing theft and crime issues..here in town..Glad as one who Is in the retail world,thank you to the sheriffs remove the camps from the wash..FYI if you do not know,,the wash has several homeless folks that are addicted to Meth..Thanks agin for keeping our town safe..

    • You have a lot of people out there that are responsible for theft and crime and possibly your neighbor is a meth addict…. But that don’t mean all of them are….. And that goes for the homeless as well. Homeless doesn’t mean they are criminals or addicted to drugs. Some have a drinking problem which is completely legal;but more addictive and deadlier than drugs. Don’t act like you are better because most people are one pay check away from being homeless

    • Don McIntire Don McIntire says:

      For sure don’t dis agree,but reality is reality..I see it everyday.For sure it not all homeless,but it’s like anything ells.you hear it everyday on the news…
      It just one bad apple the spoils the bunch..unfortunately…it reality with the one in the wash..you and I both pay for their habits…

  13. They just need help. What if it was one of your family members. You

  14. What if it was one of your family members. They just need help not lock them up

    • If it were my family member, I would not rely on public social services and the kindness of strangers to take care of addiction, or mental health issues.

    • You didn’t get it.

    • If you bothered to read the article you would see that they are informing them and pushing them to go to a homeless outreach program, and not arresting them.

    • Kari, you have know idea what it is like to have a homeless family member.

    • Dave Keck Dave Keck says:

      They’re not arresting them yet, they’re doing inventory to see how many people they’re going to arrest and possibly kill for the crime of homelessness.

    • Camie , you have no idea what my experience is.
      However, I fail to see how I’m in the wrong for believing that families need to be responsible first for their loved ones.

    • Camie , you have no idea what my experience is.
      However, I fail to see how I’m in the wrong for believing that families need to be responsible first for their loved ones.

    • Donna M Siano …you didn’t get it.
      If the families of these kids were more accountable all around, their loved ones wouldn’t be in this place, taking up precious resources from public safety.
      I didn’t say it was easy or glamorous, I said. .. if mom can’t take up for her kid, uncle Joe should. …but throwing your hands up because junior got arrested for possession, instead of doing what is hard, and being relentlessly accountable, is lazy.

    • Donna M Siano …you didn’t get it.
      If the families of these kids were more accountable all around, their loved ones wouldn’t be in this place, taking up precious resources from public safety.
      I didn’t say it was easy or glamorous, I said. .. if mom can’t take up for her kid, uncle Joe should. …but throwing your hands up because junior got arrested for possession, instead of doing what is hard, and being relentlessly accountable, is lazy.

    • Thanks Camie. My brother took his own life 2007

  15. Don McIntire Don McIntire says:

    Help the one ‘s that need help,,lock up the crooks..Prop 47 makes us pay more for the rise in theft..get rid of 47…

  16. That a great service to the homeless as well as to the residents of Santa Clarita. Wish you could get the dealers who take their money and keep them dependent on the drugs. If taken to rehab. And cleaned up, they go back on the street and the dealers lay in wait for them. Plus they often use a fake address or p.o.box to get welfare cks. That’s gone within a few days. Sickening problem.

  17. Erin Henry Erin Henry says:

    I don’t mind. They need to live somewhere. Not the criminals but the rest. Help would be better.

  18. Suzie Acosta Suzie Acosta says:

    Weird. The biggest clean up portion was in Valencia. Hmm

  19. There use to be a homeless shelter in canyon country but they tore it down for the skate park ?

  20. Outreach? More like “not in my back yard” God forbid valencia-ites have to look at homeless people on their way to Jamba Juice and the golf coarse

    • John Gilbert John Gilbert says:

      if history is any indicator, sho’s not to say that LAPD doesn’t have someone pack ’em on a NB Metrolink and tell them to get going? There’s not a stop north of Union Station on the Antelope line that is in L.A. City. Same goes for Glendale, Burbank, and San Fernando/Sylmar.

    • John Gilbert John Gilbert says:

      if history is any indicator, sho’s not to say that LAPD doesn’t have someone pack ’em on a NB Metrolink and tell them to get going? There’s not a stop north of Union Station on the Antelope line that is in L.A. City. Same goes for Glendale, Burbank, and San Fernando/Sylmar.

  21. And if they wanted help they would ask for it. Agree. Lock up the crooks. But if they don’t want the help you can’t force them.

  22. My heart goes out to these people, everyone involved; “The Washions”(people who live in the wash or- “Washatovia” as I like to call it), the community officers and the outreach groups. I have met and become friends with many of the Washions, outreach workers and a Deputy or two. Most are kind, generous and concerned about the welfare of others, a select few – however – are not. Unfortunately, it does not take much to discourage the hopeless which makes the “select few” ‘quite powerful and destructive especially when they hold certain authorities over of others. I used to have a strong opinion about homeless panhandlers until I myself became homeless. Although I never lived in the wash I did spend many nights in my car because the shelter was full. Night after night I would line up in hopes of getting a bed only to be turned away. Seems they had 44 beds for the men and only 16 for the women. Kind of backwards if you ask me because women are are at greater risk alone on the street than men are. It makes more sense to take in women first and give the remaining beds to the men, (but that’s just my opinion). After my car was stolen I was forced to sleep on the sidewalk some nights or huddled next to some trash bins with a makeshift cardboard shelter to guard against the wind and rain. I asked for help. Contacted any place that offered outreach services and what I discovered is: There are lots of groups that appear as though they are intended to “help” but many simply don’t have the funding to provide the services they offer, most just gave referrals to other programs that sadly also lack funding. The majority don’t actually help people but offer yet more referrals (that are either out of the area, not appropriate/ clients don’t meet criteria, not accepting new clients or they are no longer operating/out of business). What I gained as a result of my experience was a new perspective and a compassionate heart. I erased my judgements and preconceptions and filled the empty space within me with a my new gift- a new understanding and a burning desire – a genuine passion to help the homeless and others. You see what I learned is that once a person becomes homeless it is very hard to stop being homeless. Getting a job is almost impossible for several reasons: not being able to maintain a contact number because you cant afford the bill or your cell phones keeps getting stolen, not being able schedule future meeting times with perspective employers because you don’t know where you will sleep or wake up from day to day or if you will have access to a shower or will your interview clothes still be clean or if they will even still be where you left them before you fell asleep(many things get stolen when you are asleep, especially clean nice clothes). Transportation can also be troublesome when funds are lacking. Many times I took to panhandling on the fwy off ramps to earn the cost of train fair between sfv and scv just so I could make it to visits to see my son or inquire about a possible job opening. I never used the money I was given for alcohol or drugs or even cigarettes. When I had enough for the train, etc…..I would pack up and head off to the station. I will never forget how ashamed I felt and the fear that filled my mind a I stepped onto the corner each time, standing there, in the heat no shade as dusty and dangerous it was It was to me the lesser of two evils. I could have taken to committing crimes to earn the money I needed or I could forego my pride and earn it honestly. I chose the path of honesty, no sense in making my bad situation even worse. Let me say that I will be forever grateful to the kind, generous people who gave me their spare change. If any of you happen to be reading this and you helped the girl sitting at the McClay NB 210fwy off ramp 2 years ago…..Thank you!! You helped me more then you know. I did not choose to be homeless nor did I wish to continue in a nomadic lifestyle, I desperately wanted to be self sufficient again, to have a home again,a place for my son to come back to. I called every place I was referred to, even met with intake staff at a few only to be turned away. The only place that offered me a bed and the kind of support services that met my needs was Grace Church in Lancaster. But my sons special classes were here in Scv and getting back and forth between the two valleys would have been too much for us I did not take shelter there. Many people would look at my situation and wonder why it remained unchanged despite having several organizations in place in order to help me. But all those people, the Social Workers, Counselors, Case Workers were, poorly trainef ill equipt to serve their clients often more ready to pass judgement, I understand how easy it is to judge from the outside. Next time you think you know enough to form an opinion about someone’s life or situation ask yourself if you’d be willing to pay the price it costs to truly own an educated experienced and creditable assessment of what its like for them. Would you be willing to walk a day in the life of a homeless person?

    • Judy Estrada Judy Estrada says:

      Wow. I respect that you have turned your life around. Having been homeless a few times I completely agree with everything you wrote. Most people don’t stop to think about how someone got there to the homeless point… Or how close we all are to being there. We should all try out best to help make a difference rather than pretending the issue is for someone else to handle or that it will just go away.

  23. Joanna Romo Joanna Romo says:

    by them doing this and evicting them from the wash is just making them come out and roam the streets I have seen a lot more homeless people they don’t want help they chose to be there. I’d personally want them in the wash rather then up here stealing. just saying

  24. In 2007 I went on a ride along with the CHP. And we encountered a homeless person at the 14/5 interchange. He was not violent but we did have to confiscate his hammer that he had in his bag. We ended up dropping him off at Lyons ave and told him to keep walking north on the old rd until he got to castiac junction where he would hitch hike with a trucker north out of the area. Seems to me the policy for homelessness in the area was to just move them along.

  25. Omar Valle Omar Valle says:

    Si los sacan de ai porlomenos tienen que ayudarlos ..y si no
    Dejenlos en pas ??
    Ellos .no nesesitan de leyes

  26. The Homeless shelter is in desperate need of people in our community to help out. The more we give of our time (or resources) the better off the homeless population will be. This isn’t just the government’s job!!

  27. Kathy Kolada says:

    “The Santa Clarita Valley has several programs and organizations in place to help homeless individuals, such as Bridge to Home, L.A. County Housing and Assistance League.” This sentence is inaccurate, for it gives the impression that the help being given is shelter,
    and that is what these organizations can’t offer due to lack of supply. Don’t misunderstand, Bridge helps me eat–but when the Winter Shelter is closed, I have nowhere to go.

  28. Ashley Marie Ashley Marie says:

    They need more people like Mission Hope out there

  29. Ashley, yes we could use community volunteers like Mission Hope! That would be Awesome!

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
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