“As I’m driving my daughter, we’re counting the tents and there’s up to 34 tents now,” Local Gregory Ellis shared.
Homelessness is growing, not just in Palm Springs, but across the state.
“If Palm Springs is like most of the rest of California, there will have been growth,” Palm Springs City Councilmember Lisa Middleton said. “What we have seen across California is homelessness is the crisis of the day.”
One of the most apparent areas of this growth in the city is seen right off Ramon Rd. on Crossley Rd.
Shelters are seen lining the street and locals say it has only grown each month.
But along with completing the Point-In-Time Homeless Count last week, which helps in state and federal funding, the city has a plan..
“We’re working very arduously to get the navigation center open,” Middleton shared. “We hope to have that open mid-year. We’re seeing great progress with it. It is going to be a facility for those who want help and we know there are hundreds and hundreds of people who are going to get the help they need.”
But that’s not all.
“I just happened to tour a manufactured housing facility that has now opened up a new branch in building housing for homeless individuals,” Middleton continued. “Incredibly promising in terms of what we saw in the ability to build housing that is reliable for the homeless and that is significantly lower in cost than what we’ve been seeing with most affordable housing.”
She continued to say building housing is one thing, but it’s also about addressing the unhoused and organizing and managing the properties that makes a true difference.
That’s where Palm Springs police come in with its new “Operation Relentless Sun.”
“When we identify individuals that are willing to take services, sometimes we end up losing track of where they might be staying,” Palm Springs Police Lieutenant Gustavo Araiza explained. “It’d help us with that population. In the same respect, if there’s individuals out there that have warrants or we know that they’re susceptible to committing crimes, that we know where to look in the event we have something that kind of fits the modus operandi that they typically exhibit.”
All this takes time, but they are determined to find a solution.
“If we could do it collectively, then hopefully we could eliminate some of the issues that the community sees related to the unhoused,” Lieutenant Araiza said.
“Something is happening in society where more and more individuals are quitting and dropping out of society,” Middleton shared. “We have got to identify why all of that is happening and turn that around.”
PSPD begins “Operation Relentless Sun” this Wednesday.
In the meantime, the city has to follow Martin v. Boise, a ruling that holds cities accountable to not enforce anti-camping ordinances if the city doesn’t have enough shelter beds for the entire homeless population.