STOCKTON (CBS13) – An effort to help reduce crime in an area of downtown Stockton is causing concern for a lot of men and women who live there.
Many homeless individuals are now displaced after city officials shut down a number of encampments.
Four years ago, Alfredo Lerma lost his job and found himself living on the streets of Stockton. Every day, he walked through tent city just to get to St. Mary’s Dining Room.
“It was pretty bad. Always, a lot of fights and stabbings,” said Lerma.
Lerma says more than 150 homeless men, women and children called the encampment home. It’s now gone and so are the people.
“I feel safer, safer to walk around. So, I’m kind of happy about that,” he said.
Individuals who camped out near homeless shelters have been displaced over the last two weeks as the city works with Caltrans to address crime, health and safety concerns.
“Well, the homeless people right now are on the other side of I-5. They are not bothering anybody. I’m one of them, we got our own rules and we watch each other,” said Chepeh Nex Okuahne of Stockton.
Now that several of the downtown encampments are gone, shelter workers hope homeless individuals can connect to services that will help get them back on track.
“It’s sad, but it’s also kind of good because some of them were selling drugs here so, that is no help for the homeless,” said Edward Beshara of Stockton.
The installation of the fences of part of a $1.3 million program from Caltrans.