City leaders continue seeking options for homeless

After a 72-hour warning, people living in encampments must remove all property.

Posted: Jan 11, 2021 12:18 AM
Updated: Jan 11, 2021 2:51 PM

CHICO, Calif. - "A lot of them choose to be homeless, but not all of us."

Lusan Whitaker has been homeless for almost nine years. Originally from Paradise, she is unsure of what to do next.

"People just think we are drug addicts or alcoholics,” Lusan said. “But, some of us are out here because we have no other choice and we have nowhere to go. Now they want us to move and we have nowhere to go."

She isn't the only one. Dozens of people still line the sidewalks, needing shelter.

"I cried for a few minutes,” she said. “I've been packing stuff. Crying still because I don't know where to go."

RELATED: Campers receive eviction notices but remain in Bidwell Park

At first, the city allowed encampments to stay in public parks. They could stay, but they couldn't grow.

Since that decision, encampments ultimately grew and with that: concerns over trash buildup, sanitation, and pollution of chico's waterways.

"Some people are really just slobs," said Whitaker. "It is what it is. It just makes us all look bad."

Action News Now caught up with councilmember Scott Huber and asked him about the city's next obstacle.

"You can't move something someplace without having the thing that was in that place have a place to go," explained Huber. "And that's what we are trying to do and it's completely illogical."

Although Whitaker is unsure about her future, she knows she can withstand the uncertainty.

“I’m going to survive because my dad raised me to be strong,” she said.

Workers for the City of Chico can enforce the rules. While they will not hand out any citations Monday, they are working with organizations to help the process and want to give the homeless time to relocate.

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