Palm Springs Business Owners Form Community Watch Group; Plan To Combat Homelessness

Nico Payne

As homelessness becomes an increasing problem in Palm Springs and throughout the Coachella Valley.

Business owners are coming together to form a community watch group to combat what has become a public nuisance.

“We are focused on finding solutions and working with our elected officials to move solutions forward in an effort to both help the folks on the street that need the help and want the help, and also to improve the overall civic environment,” explained David Murphy, Organizer with Community Partnership on Homelessness.

This new watchdog group formed of Palm Springs business owners primarily located on the South end of the city is expecting dozens in attendance at Wednesday’s private meeting.

“They are philosophically aligned with our group which is trying to find positive solutions, legal solutions, to help reduce the number of people on the street that are suffering, most of whom at least in this area have some form of addiction and or mental illness,” said Murphy.

The city of Palm Springs recently shut down Baristo Park in October, many referring to the park as “heroin park” which is now undergoing renovations.

“The residents that live around Baristo Park, there is a huge sense of relief, that a lot of that traffic has been dissipated. As we expected and as the city expected, a lot of those folks just migrated to one or two new locations, that’s not a surprise that that happened. The intent was to create a safer environment for the residents that live adjacent to baristo park,” added Murphy.

City officials attribute the ongoing problem to a number of issues, and as more resources are becoming available the business community is looking forward to change.

“This really is a systemic problem, it’s been decades in the making, it comes from a combination of things including escalating costs of housing, relatively less growth in wages, it is mental health and the services that are available, not just ordinary services, but inpatient services in some cases,” said Justin Clifton, City Manager of Palm Springs

“The city of palm springs and the county of riverside are making strides, they plan to open the navigation center which will help folks that are ready for help, get the help they need, temporary housing, treatment programs, and then access to more permanent housing, so they are strides being made,” added Murphy.

And though Wednesday’s private meeting is not being hosted by the Palm Springs Police Department they are expected to be in attendance to learn and listen.

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