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Caltrans Planning To Clear Mono Way Homeless Camp

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Sonora, CA — Officials with the City of Sonora have been fielding several questions from community members about a homeless camp that has been growing at the intersection of Mono Way and Greenley Road.

Of concern, there was recently a small fire at the site.

The property is owned by Caltrans. Expressing frustration about the situation, City Administrator Mary Rose Rutikanga says, “Our Police Officers do not have jurisdiction to patrol that property, only the CHP because it is state property. Although our officers are trying to do all they can to ensure the safety in and around that area.”

Last week the city had discussions with Caltrans leaders and urged them to prioritize the removal of the camp, due to the recent fire.

Clarke Broadcasting reached out to Caltrans Encampment Coordinator Warren Alford regarding the matter, and he released a statement, “Caltrans was notified of an encampment at the old Caltrans Maintenance yard in Sonora and has reached out to local homeless outreach agencies to provide those living at the encampment on Mono Way and Route 108 with resources for better living situations to keep them safe. Caltrans plans to clear the encampment on September 20 due to fire concerns and the safety of those living in the encampment.”

Related to the issue of homelessness, the city recently acquired a dilapidated old home at 290 South Stewart Street in hopes of building an emergency shelter there using Community Development Block Grant and Redevelopment funds.

Rutikanga adds, “We had hoped to have a community conversation about this shelter project last month but the Washington Fire impacted our ability to hold that community meeting.  We are tentatively rescheduling that meeting for October 12th.”

She concludes, “We also know that the lack of affordable housing in both the City and County is having a major impact on our community members to find adequate housing. And that is why the City Council recently passed an ordinance restricting the use of Short Term Rentals (Airbnb’s) in the City. The City Council also directed staff to review our City ordinances to ensure that there are no city barriers for the development of affordable housing.”