Vallejo residents vent frustrations over lack of city response to homeless encampments

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Wednesday, March 20, 2024
Vallejo residents frustrated over lack of response to homeless camps
Several Vallejo residents showed up at a city council meeting on Tuesday to express their concerns with increasing homeless encampments in the city.

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- Drive by the intersection of Lewis Brown and B.W. Williams drives in Vallejo, and it's impossible not to see a large homeless encampment.

"It's a public hazard. It's not safe, our children cannot play, they're bringing out rodents," said Will'E Jean Tisby-Austin.

Tisby-Austin has lived in the houses behind the encampment for decades.

She says the camp has continued to grow and bring with it an array of problems.

Tisby-Austin tells us it's gotten so bad that she and other elderly neighbors are sometimes afraid to leave their homes.

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While the intersection is one of the main areas that the residents wanted to highlight, many of them tell us that encampments like this one are popping up all over the city.

That's why on Tuesday, several Vallejo residents showed up at a city council meeting to express their frustrations.

"They keep saying, 'well it takes time and there's a process,' but we've been waiting years and years and years," said fellow Vallejo resident, Paula Conley.

City officials say they're aware of the problem at this and other intersections around Vallejo and told the residents they share many of their same concerns.

"If we had a solution, obviously we would make it. We would do so," said Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell.

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McConnell says the city can only do so much.

In response to the public comment at Tuesday's meeting, McConnell says a combination of factors has prevented the city from taking action.

Some of those including things such as money as well as public opposition.

"Neighborhood groups have come down and said, 'not in my backyard,"' McConnell said.

And while the council says they're determined to solve the issue, for many residents here, it's not happening fast enough.

"I want the city of Vallejo council to know that we're not going away," Tisby-Austin said.

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