CONCORD (BCN) – Concord police on Wednesday evicted the last dozen or so residents of an encampment along San Miguel Road, in a field under BART tracks, after a year and hundreds of complaints to the city about unsanitary conditions, fires, and drug use at the site.
The city gave notice to the residents 10 days earlier. At its peak there were an estimated 25 unhoused people at the site.
BART owns the property, but the city is responsible for maintaining the site, said Concord Police Lt. Tamra Roberts. She said there were no problems on Wednesday, as everyone was cooperative.
"We've abated it several times the past year," said Roberts, who works with the department's community impact team. "There's been a variety of complaints -- we've actually received hundreds of complaints."
City maintenance workers will clean up what's left of the camp. Roberts said the city was able to offer spots at a county-run shelter in Concord to those who were still there Wednesday, but no one accepted. She said she realized these people, many of whom suffer from mental illness, would just move their belongings to other sites nearby.
"They have a right to be on public property as long as they're not creating health hazards," said Roberts, who is part of the department's Community Impact Unit, working on local quality of life issues, including those experience by unhoused people.
Concord is one of three Contra Costa cities, along with Richmond and Pittsburg, to offer full-time shelters. The city has also teamed with the county to create a three-person CORE (Coordinated Outreach, Referral & Engagement) team that spends 40 hours per week on homeless issues. Concord also launched MHET -- Mental Health Evaluation Team -- in 2021, teaming a mental health professional with a police officer to help unhoused people with outpatient mental health referrals and other resources.
"We're out there daily, trying to come up with a solution," Roberts said. "But it's not something that any other city has solved either."
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