SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – The cleanup of more than 60 Santa Ana homeless encampments along the railroad tracks began early Wednesday morning.
The property overcome by the encampments near Edinger Avenue belongs to the Union Pacific Railroad and has long been a place where the homeless camp, officials say.
Early Wednesday morning, 16 people were kicked out of their tents. One resident says he has lived at the encampment for a year with his rabbit and cat.
Another man was arrested by Santa Ana police for possession of a methamphetamine pipe.
The men and women staying at the encampment were offered a place at a local shelter but they reportedly refused.
“The reality is that you can’t force somebody to do something they don’t want to…so we have to deal with that. When you have these groups that have rules imposed on them, certain things they cannot bring, certain things they cannot do inside the shelter, they’re not going to choose to be there,” said Santa Ana City Councilmember, David Penaloza
Complaints from business owners and the community prompted Santa Ana leaders to secure a warrant to remove the nuisance.
Police, the Department of Public Works, and Code Enforcement made surprise visits to five locations along the tracks.
Officers say railroad resources to deal with these issues are slim.