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Crime, drug use and brush fires are widespread in this area. The river flow is dangerous during winter rains and has claimed lives; public safety personnel have rescued several homeless people from the rising water in the past at significant risk and expense.
Trash and waste generated primarily by illegal encampments is accumulating at an alarming rate. Illegal camps degrade river and beach water quality with bacteria, nitrates, nutrients and trash. Stringent regulations to protect public health and the environment include legal mandates that result in penalties for noncompliance.
Owners of the property in the Ventura River have been mowing the arundo (invasive non-native plant species) that grows in the river. The clearing of the arundo must be done in late summer/fall for environmental reasons, and the upcoming winter rains make this the appropriate season to remove debris and illegal encampments.
During the trash and arundo removal from the river bed, the County and social service providers have made every effort to be sensitive to the needs of those who are camping there and who may not be aware of resources to help them end their homelessness. Social service providers seek to assist individuals to find appropriate housing in Ventura, or unite them with family or friends if they desire, and get them the medical attention and other services they need to mitigate the impact on our community. While it is not illegal to be homeless, it is illegal to camp on public or private property without written permission.
Support local charities (see list below) that provide meals, medical attention, case management and housing services to get people focused on long-term solutions. Reducing homelessness also requires all of us to say, “No,” to panhandlers, and yes to charities. Residents can also volunteer for programs and initiatives that keep our community Safe and Clean by signing up for service opportunities on the Volunteer Webpage.