Homeless spearhead effort to spruce up Redwood City campsite

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An effort to clean up a homeless encampment in Redwood City was spearheaded by the homeless people living there.

David Shearin, executive director of Street Life Ministries, the nonprofit serving local homeless and at-risk populations, told Climate Online he received a call Tuesday from some of the homeless folks living in the encampment located in the northern El Camino area. They decided to take the initiative to clean up their campsite, bagging up all of the trash and setting it on the side in a pile. Shearin was told it was an effort to draw less attention to the site from local authorities.

When Shearin saw the cleaned up site, he was impressed at the amount of work that was accomplished. Illegally dumped old mattresses and pallets had been collected, so Shearin  contacted Chris Rasmussen, the homeless outreach coordinator for the Redwood City Police Department, asking Rasmussen to contact Public Works. Public Works responded in a big way, joining in the cleanup effort, Shearin said.

“They went out there with their large trailers,” Shearin said. “[Public Works workers] saw how great a job [the homeless people] had done, and so they got out and started raking.”

The nonprofit shared photos of the effort on Facebook.

This isn’t the first time Streetlife Ministries has been involved in such cleanups. In April, it held a Community Clean Day at Shasta Street under Woodside Road alongside the Redwood City Police Department. The area was the site of an abandoned homeless camp and was neglected by state agencies.

“Thank you to everyone involved!” the nonprofit stated on the social media platform regarding the latest effort. “We love Redwood City and how our community comes together. Our homeless folks often get a bad rap, but we want ALL to know that this was a group effort that was started by our folks on the street to make our city look better and to be part of the solution.”