BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — The City of Berkeley cleared out a homeless encampment of about a dozen people on Friday, following complaints about rotting food, animal waste, and rats. But moments after police left, some of the tents popped up nearby.
Police moved in around 4 in the morning, clearing out about a dozen people living under Interstate 80. Workers in hazmat suits cleaned up and tossed out trash that was left behind.
Tom Barnett came to Berkeley and set up his tent about three months ago. The City of Albany paid him and other homeless people $3,000 to leave the Albany Bulb. He said it wasn’t enough to land permanent housing.
“I have to make sure I have enough finances to where when I get into a home that I can stay there and be comfortable,” Barnett told KPIX 5.
Berkeley leaders said a rat infestation and other safety issues forced them to evict people from the encampment, and neighbors also complained to the city.
“There’s a lot of rodents here. And a lot of garbage,” said Berkeley spokesperson Matthai Chakko.
After police left, some people set up their tents next to the overpass, while others moved to the nearby Union Pacific railroad tracks.
The homeless who lived there said they have no choice. “I don’t know where I’m going. This one is even more difficult than moving from the Albany Bulb,” Barnett said.