Homelessness in our community is a ticklish issue with much to consider when citizens, city government and advocates try to impart change.

I have been a resident of Patterson, California for 11 years. The homeless situation in Patterson has exploded in the past few years. I live just outside of town and drive north on highway 33, as I approach my office. The homeless encampment known as “The Cages” is an area I pass by daily.

The Cages are located at the rail spur at 40 South Second Street; sandwiched between Highway 33 and South First Street. These old metal containers were used to ship hay and produce on the railroad years ago. After a fire in 2019 forced the city and property owner to deal with the situation, the residents of the encampment were forced to leave.

What was left behind is an eyesore and a health and safety nightmare. Human waste, condoms, hypodermic needles, trash and debris strewn about. Adjoining property owners’ values are negatively impacted due to the stigma and the mess.

Who is responsible to clean up the mess? The property owner? The City of Patterson? The citizens of Patterson? The homeless residents themselves? We certainly are not the only community to deal with this issue. Phoenix, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco are dealing with this on a much larger scale. Let’s start a conversation about it and try to find a solution.

Kathy Goss

Broker/Owner Bossgoss & Associates

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