The Hunt Branch Library in Fullerton seemed more peaceful than ever, with birds chirping and a cool breeze whispering to everyone around that now, more than ever, was the time to lay on the grass and take a nap. A couple sat on a wooden bench while watching their two beautiful dogs run free across the green grass. It was a marked departure from last Wednesday, when the city's police department gave a 48-hour eviction notice to around 60 members of a homeless camp near the train tracks behind the building. Fullerton officials swore that they'd help the homeless find shelter--but, unsurprisingly, those promises haven't been kept.
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Sources at the camp say only a few actually went to homes provided by Christian evangelical organizations such as Coast to Coast and Victory Outreach. "They preach to us and I find that disrespectful." said Matt (no last name given) a former resident of the camp. " We'd rather stay out here and make it on our own."
Matt said some of the homeless went to relative's houses, while others moved on to Riverside and San Bernardino counties. But most of the people stayed within Fullerton, given the short notice. Some even had to move to dangerous places like underground sewers and wild areas within the city. They really have little choice: a 24-hour year-round homeless shelter, the first of it's kind in la naranja is in the bureaucratic thicket as we speak, with former Fullerton councilmember and current supervisor Shawn Nelson swearing they're trying to find the "perfect" location for the shelter, and residents complaining every step of the way.
As I leave the Hunt Library a man on a bike comes towards me and tells me he is glad they are all gone. I listened for a few minutes before riding my back back home. As I stare at the empty space I realized there is still a lot of work to be done.