Fullerton police ordered residents of a homeless encampment near the Hunt Library to leave the area by Friday or be arrested for illegal camping, prompting many of them to pack their belongings and search for somewhere else to sleep at night.
Police handed down the order a month ago and swept through the camp over the last three weeks, making 50 arrests, mostly for drug use, authorities said. Police say there have been numerous complaints from residents in the neighborhood.
Volunteers went to the camp with free bus and train vouchers for those who wished to leave. On Friday afternoon, several residents had already left and others were packing their belongings.
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"We don't want to be an infringement on the normal flow of the city," said James Talbot, a resident of the camp said he felt the order to leave was unreasonable. "We just want to be able to have a place to put our heads down at night that's not going to have us arrested for being a blight on the community."
Don Alexander, 57, says he’s lived on the streets for seven years—two of those years in Fullerton. “I’ve got health problems, so my problem is health and economic.”
Now the former manufacturing mechanic is putting everything he owns in storage and moving to a Victory Outreach shelter.
Police say the residents of the trackside tent city were put on notice over a month ago and that after Friday, anyone living there would be arrested for illegal camping.
“And to know so many people don’t know this goes on, it is literally in our backyards,” said Elaine Moline, a resident home-owner from the other side of the tracks.
Volunteers and moving trucks lined up Friday afternoon to help the remaining homeless residents pack up.