Palm Springs Homeless Encampment Near Walmart To Be Cleared

Carmela Karcher

“It’s gone from 18 to 25,” Local Gregory Ellis said last week. “Then as I’m driving my daughter [to school], there’s up to 34 tents now.”

Just last week, tents were seen lining the street on Crossley Rd.

But as of Tuesday, what used to be one of Palm Springs’ most apparent areas of the growing homeless population, is no more.

Throughout the morning, Palm Springs police were seen supervising the homeless move their belongings.

That’s because police were notified by a security management company that some were making their way onto private property.  

“This is not a police operation in any form,” Palm Springs Police Lieutenant William Hutchinson explained. “Some of the security that were hired in this location have come over here to move people along. We’re essentially here to just keep the peace and make sure nobody’s violating the law on either side. There’s property that belongs here to some of the homeless and it’s not on private property, so we’re making sure that people are not just arbitrarily grabbing their property and throwing that away.”

But that’s not the only reason why they are being asked to move.

“The place has really become, unfortunately, unlivable,” Lt. Hutchinson continued. “There’s urine and feces everywhere. They’re using this area for bathing. We feel for the individuals because they don’t have a place to go; however, we do have an access center that provides bathrooms and showers and a place for them to start with their resources. But, we can’t allow this to continue growing. It’s really problematic and a health hazard.”

But over the last several weeks, PSPD has been working with the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Jewish Family Services and the county to bring the people there proper services.

And they say it’s working.

“Over the last several weeks in this location alone, we were able to get three or four people housed out of this spot. A lot of the others have just simply refused services from this location and that’s unfortunate,” Lt. Hutchinson said. “We encourage anybody that’s unhoused, if they need to find a place to sleep, they can certainly set up their tents in places that are not unreasonably blocking locations for the purpose of sleeping, but encampments in the city are not going to be allowed. The code doesn’t allow for that and the federal case doesn’t say that they have to be there. So, we need to really make sure that we continue working with the service providers to get them housing.”

Palm Springs police will be coming back there next week to issue vacate notices so they can properly clean the area.

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