Caves Along A California River Are Home To A Second Homeless Community

In central California, there is another shanty town settlement where the homeless have excavated into a riverbank and are living out of caves.

Caves Along A California River Are Home To A Second Homeless Community

There is a homeless camp on the banks of the Stanislaus River, and the residents of Riverbank, California, allege that efforts to clean it up have failed. The city is roughly ten miles north of Modesto, where homeless individuals were discovered living in caverns beside the Tuolumne River, causing a similar scenario to garner national attention.

“As soon as they get kicked out, the night after they get kicked out, they just start digging,” Riverbank resident Eddie Eagleton told KOVR in an interview. “Doesn’t seem like anyone can slow them down or stop them.”

Eagleton claimed he has seen the homeless living out of caves cut into the banks beneath Highways 108 and 120. Eagleton fishes the Stanislaus River on a regular basis.

“It’s pretty amazing what 15 to 20 people can do in a night or two,” Eagleton told the local news station. “They got generators down there. They got power, water pumps.”

A warning that the encampments pollute the region and create erosion along the river has prompted city officials to try to clean up the area. However, those who have settled there won’t go.

“It’s a very high priority. First off, it’s pollution. It’s a danger to themselves or others if that river happens to rise rapidly,” Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien told KOVR.

According to the mayor, his community is still looking for a solution that safeguards the environment and public health without violating anyone’s rights.

“They have the right to live on public property, according to the courts. The Supreme Court is going to take that, so we’ll see there,” O’Brien said.

Following the discovery of at least eight caves in the neighbouring city of Modesto that were inhabited by the homeless, complaints concerning the homelessness problem in Riverbank were made.

Throughout the weekend, volunteers from Tuolumne River Trust and Operation 9-2-99 assisted the Modesto Police Department in clearing out the caves. According to police, they removed about 7,600 pounds of trash from the region.

“This particular area has been plagued by vagrancy and illegal camps, which have raised concerns because these camps were caves dug into the riverbanks,” the Modesto Police Department said in a statement.

According to the authorities, the cleaned rubble packed two truckloads and a trailer.

When KOVR video crews were dispatched to investigate the Modesto caves, they discovered furniture, food, drugs, firearms, and other goods within along with a makeshift mantel.

A Modesto resident who lives close to the caves, Tracy Rojas, stated that living beneath is risky.

“If one of these were to collapse, it would be devastating,” she told KOVR. “This whole thing would come down and go into the water.”

Since then, authorities have erected makeshift barriers to prevent anyone from entering the caves.

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