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Homeless camp clean up efforts continue along Highway 101 and priority fire zones

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - CalTrans crews have been revisiting problem spots in a clean-up effort where homeless camps have filled freeway off and on-ramps and also create fire hazards.

Crews have pulled out truckloads of belongings in several locations. Some were well established.

During the height of the COVID-19 crisis last year, the camps were not disturbed.

A community outcry was heard in Santa Barbara City Hall when some of the camps were also the sites of dangerous fires.

This week, a line of homeless carts and belongings could be seen on the upper State Street bridge over Highway 101 on Monday during a large scale clean up effort.

That night a vegetation fire was reported in the same area. Santa Barbara County investigators say the fire was in the area of a transient camp.

The cause has not been released.

Recently, there have also been large clean up efforts on Highway 101 northbound at Mission Street and on Highway 101 southbound at Milpas Street.

Last year, several camps were cleaned out and some of the people living in the transient locations were offered a hotel room as part of a transitional or bridge housing program.

That plan is no longer funded and only a small number of those relocated were able to continue on into government housing.

Article Topic Follows: Safety

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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