Anderson Police Chief, Michael Johnson, and Anderson City Manager, Jeff Kiser, discussed ways to move forward with their city’s transient problem at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
The state of California has a larger population of homeless than the rest of the country combined. Chief Johnson said that many people come to California because of the moderate climate and services available. It’s an issue that seems to be plaguing the entire state. City Manager Kiser knows it is a problem that is not unique to Anderson, and believes it will be a community effort to get it resolved.
“We want to raise the awareness and show the council and the public. This is a public presentation so they can see what’s going on,” said Kiser.
At the city council meeting, Kiser discussed a homeless camp sweep by police in Anderson that took place between I-5 and Balls Ferry and Barney Roads. He stressed the harmful impact on the community and the environment.
“It’s taking care of the health and safety of our city,” said Kiser.
Chief Johnson agreed and said it will take a collaborative movement. He recently attended a seminar discussing the transient issues in the state. He presented the data he gathered, breaking down the homeless population as: 20 percent who are willing to accept help, 40 percent who need help (like those with mental issues or substance abuse) but don't know where to find it and the 40 percent who are resistant to help and cause a problem for the rest of the population and want to stay homeless.
“We have to figure it out and figure out what works and get there, and we are getting there but it's a learning process,” said Chief Johnson.
Chief Johnson knows this is the first step in the right direction.
“We're going to figure out what works best for us and how to help our communities deal with it,” he said.
Chief Johnson is working collectively with groups who provide services for the homeless population as well as the county health department to move forward with the effort to resolve the homeless issues.