Conclusions on Homelessness and Vagrancy

Quick guide to possible solutions

By Lori Denman-Underhill

In a quest to find helpful solutions to the issues of homelessness and vagrancy, many professionals and police department members were interviewed for Citizens Journal.

The interviews took place for the past two months. Here is a quick guide consisting of quotes, links and conclusions of these interviews. While there is no way to solve the homeless or vagrancy issues with one remedy, there may be steps to take in order to dismantle it and eventually find a solution.

1. Title: Hopes of a Shelter Solving Homeless Vagrancy

Quote: “With the way our courts are structured right now, these folks don’t see the consequences that existed 10 or 15 years ago… The bottom line is that once we do arrest them and take them to jail, it’s a very small amount of time before they are back out again… “More jail time would be helpful and it would be great if we could get more service providers,” he admitted. “It would be nice to see more jail time for frequent offenders.“ – Oxnard PD Commander Kevin Baysinger, 6/30/18

Conclusion: More jail time would help for frequent crime offenders

2. Title: Hopes of a Shelter Solving Homeless Vagrancy

Quote:“For those persons who have been homeless for more than a year, and have been untreated for mental health and might have a substance abuse problem, putting them into a place to live by itself is not going to be successful.” –John Shipper,

Conclusion: The proposal of only “more beds” would not work in this situation. There are those homeless persons who are mentally ill and refuse services, including medication for their mental illness. For the chronically homeless person who is suffering from mental illness — it is going to take housing in combination with intensive, wrap-around mental health services and treatment for them to be successful.

3. Title: Oxnard Low Barrier Homeless Shelter Funding Discussed at City Council Tomorrow

Quote: “We can create a section for those persons who are ‘sleeping it off.’” – Mark Alvarado, Homeless Coordinator for the City of Oxnard

Conclusion:There are year-round low barrier shelters set to open in Oxnard and Ventura, that will be “low barrier.” Low barrier includes the definitions of housing people struggling with mental health or addiction problems… the low barrier model contains the definition of housing those with “an active or history of substance use” or “criminal record, with exceptions for state-mandated restrictions.” Allowing drug addicts and dealers a free place to “sleep it off,” then return day after day onto the streets of our cities to commit crime, then return for a free place to sleep is not recommended by many in the cities of Oxnard and Ventura. It is believed by many that the homeless crime-committing vagrants will not stop using and dealing drugs, when not given the choice of increased incarceration or joining a program/service.

4. Title: The Breakdown of Morality

Quotes:TheVenturaStar reported that the “teardown might actually save money by reducing nuisance calls for police, code enforcement and firefighters.” And: “You have to look at the history of the problem. A classic example are the projects up on top of Potrero Hill in San Francisco. You put all the people up there in that assisted housing, and it turns out to be one huge, festering open sore of crime.” — David Pu’u, business owner of Ventura

Conclusions:Once a group of homeless vagrants are allowed to occupy an entire section to reside in with no rules, questions of drug use and no limits to sobriety — the structure collapses, literally. The site has no structure itself with no morality. News travels throughout the community of homeless vagrants, and more of them arrive to the site. So there is an increase of vagrants who cause crime. Low barrier shelter will increase the amount of homeless vagrants into your cities, who come in to deal and use drugs and “sleep it off” for free. It would save the cities money to not house homeless vagrants who cause crime.

5. Title: The Breakdown of Morality

Quote:“Ultimately, we do not have enough man power to deal with the vagrancy issues.” – Sergeant Rocky Marquez of the Oxnard Police Department.

Conclusion:The Breakdown of Morality;

6. Title: Patrol Task Force Offers Insights on Homeless

Quotes:““We have a pretty significant problem of people living in their cars and RVs on the streets.” And “What is left is the people that we have been dealing with forever. They are service-resistant.”- Police Sergeant Jerry Foreman leads the Patrol Task Force (PTF) in Ventura County.

Conclusion:The homeless living in RVs illegally is a big problem. And so are the homeless vagrants who resist services and programs.

7. Title: Town Turned Upside Down

Quotes:“Part of my concern is not just because I live here, but because my employees feel unsafe,” John Silva, a partner in a business downtown, is the president and senior creative director of DuPuis and also Chair of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce.

Conclusion: Business owners and their employees feel unsafe in their own town and at their workplace, due to the homeless vagrants and their crime.

8. Title: Ventura Police Chief Ken Corney Speaks Out On Homelessness, Vagrancy and Crime

Quotes:“We have definitely seen an increase in calls for criminal behavior or quality of life issues involving people who, when we arrive at the scene turn out to be homeless.” And “As I understand it, there is a drug court, a homeless court, a veteran’s court and more.” – Ventura Police Chief Ken Corney

Conclusion:There is an increase of calls for homeless vagrant crime. Ventura’s homeless vagrants get to go to a separate court system, the homeless court. They do not receive the same consequences and jail time as others.

9. Title: Town Turn Upside Down

Quote:“If you house a bunch of people who have no reason to abide by the law and there is no fear of the law, there is no threat there… if you house them in an area where you have businesses, tourism and children recreating, what do you think is going to happen? You create more opportunity, so you will get more crime.”– David Pu’u, business owner, Ventura.

Conclusion:Just as Ventura PD has said, there must be increased incarceration (or only the other choice of accepting services/programs and stop committing crime) for homeless vagrant crime. The type of crime hitting San Francisco has also been existing in Hawaii, Pu’u’s land of origin. There is an extremely high poverty rate, where the crimes of opportunity occur with the tourists. In order to ensure that these “crimes of opportunity” do not take place, Pu’u explains that there are two choices – remove the opportunity or you remove the criminal. If a LOW BARRIER SHELTER opens in Ventura and Oxnard, homeless vagrants will pass the word to each other that free housing and no rules exist, increasing vagrant populations and increasing of crime.

10. Title:Ventura Homelessness: The Present of More Presence

Quotes:“it was no surprise that Council responded by sending a larger contingent of officers into the troubled area. I do not see a ramp up in police numbers as being the answer to the public safety challenges presented by thieves, drug users-vendors, gang operators, vagrants, homeless…” And “If you look at the way other communities including Santa Monica manage it, it didn’t really take a lot of officers,” Pu’u told Citizens Journal. “You just take the officers out of their patrol cars and onto bikes or on foot and embed them within that region. They begin to manage the crime.”

Conclusion: In the past 10 years, Pu’u has witnessed an increase of various criminal activity, particularly on the promenade from the Ventura Pier to the river mouth and its surrounding areas of numerous parking lots. He suggests an answer to decreasing crime – take the cops out of the cars and on bikes and foot to patrol the areas affected by vagrants. More presence is a present.

Lori Denman-Underhill has been a professional journalist since 1996. She has worked as associate editor for the Los Angeles Daily News TODAY Magazines and has freelanced for LA Weekly, and more. She is now the Ventura reporter for Citizens Journal.

Get Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steven carr

Open your eyes people! Who benefits the most from high crime rates, the people committing crime? Or the people payed a large salary to force drug users, homeless people and petty criminals into a system that tracks them, feeds them, houses them very poorly I might add, and imposes fines that will ensure that the offender will never escape the poverty that holds them down and to be truthful it is the poverty that creates the alienation, drug use and eventual mental disorders that plague them for life and mark them as a recidivist or in other words the voiceless unfortunate poor who cannot bridge the gap between themselves and the rest of society who alienates them and justifies a police force of parasites and predators that harass and disrupt the lives of those who prove to be easy targets and those unfortunate enough to cross paths with Ventura’s criminal police force and ultra evil sherrifs department. They sponsor crime and blow what little there is out of proportion while making the innocuous habits of the homeless into “ health and safety code violations” to create and instill a level of fear into the population that ensures there support of hiring more pigs and militerizing the small town police force with new battle gear to take on that army of unorganized tweeters that cannot even keep there camp clean let alone provide a threat that couldn’t be handled by Andy Taylor and Barney over a three day weekend. But on second thought of course the police need to have a cop on the street for every citizen and be armed to the teeth with the same rifles and shotes that the u.s military uses to fight foreign wars, and of course pay raises and brand new vehicles for there new private military fighting for the rights of local business to turn Ventura into the fake artist, fake cultural center of commerce and banality that caters to the mindless superficial sheeple that are moving here in droves from whatever places we’re lucky enough to get rid of them. Goodbye Ventura, hello ventana limited liability corporation.

Jim Sullivan

Homelessness is a problem with many social, medical and economic dimensions, and thus extremely difficult to solve. Finland is currently experimenting with a Basic Universal Income program. We should watch to see the outcome of this program and its possible effects on homelessness.

William Hicks

Thousand Oaks area is not free of homeless, but it hasn’t reached the extremes existing in Oxnard and Ventura.

I wonder why.

William Hicks

Quite an exhaustive research. Thanks Lori.