Palm Springs Tackles Homeless Issues
It got heated at times at the community outreach forum for homeless issues held at the Mizell Senior Center by the Palm Springs Police Advisory Board.
Some people spoke up about crime, others about lack of resources and some homeless people spoke up about lack of compassion.
Bane Shaman collects cans to buy food and other necessities, and says he sleeps under the stars.
"Which is on the streets which I hold dearly to my heart, stay in contact with my family, and a normal person," said Shaman.
Tom Dietrich and his dog, Riley, also do not live in a home.
He says more people are ending up homeless because of the cost of living, especially the elderly.
"Then they got to eat and they can't get food stamps so it's like what are you going to do, you gotta live out here just to eat and buy clothes, there's a lot of old people out here," said Dietrich.
Bane and Tom both stopped by the community meeting where people living in Palm Springs voiced their concerns about the lack of resources and crime associated with homelessness.
"The trespassing and the camping and things of that nature, something that my community policing officer he takes zero tolerance about any of the crime issues that are going on," said Palm Springs Police Chief Al Franz.
The forum was also about providing help.
"They want to know where they get help, and that's where Roys and the Well come in and we partner up with them," said Chief Franz.
But funding to Roy's Desert Resource Center and Well in the Desert is shrinking.
"Limited in funds, limited in resources, and so what we want to do tonight is get ideas, positive ideas about how to help this community," said George Zander with the Police Advisory Board.
Community leaders said it's important to find solutions -- like a cool place during the day for people to escape the high temperature --.but say homelessness will always be an issue.
"I don't want to stay doing it, but I've got to for now, I'll do it," said Dietrich.
"I get royalties from my music and I do this, it supplements my income, and I'm proud of it, I meet good people like Tom," said Shaman.
Another idea proposed by a Palm Springs resident at the meeting was for a community garden where homeless people could work and grow their own food.