Amanda Fukumoto started an unofficial organization called “Coyote Creek Homeless Stream Stewards,” a group that encourages the homeless who live on the creek to keep it clean and trash free. She calls the creek a “trash magnet,” and offers incentives for others to keep their campsites clean. Years of garbage accumulated in the creek after countless homeless people and illegal dumpers took advantage of the space by pouring their waste and trash into the creek.
Since October of 2015, Amanda has organized with the city to have trash trucks drive by the creek to collect the black trash bags that they fill up on a weekly basis. While she acknowledges that the homeless who live near the creek contribute to the problem, she also believes that they are a part of the long-term solution.
They think we’re stupid…that we’re worthless.” Amanda comments, but she knows that this plan will work because it’s already working. All that’s left is for the city to provide the space. They want to work, they just haven’t been given the help that they need to make it happen.
The only way to stop the creek pollution is to get the homeless off of the creek and into homes. She wants to start a deal with the city that will allow people to live in “tiny houses” – 350 square feet wheeled homes – in a non-creek area of the water district’s property. In exchange, the local homeless will continue to clean up the creek and begin planting trees and vegetation to help repair the damage done to the area.
While the idea goes through regulatory and bureaucratic difficulties, the “Stream Stewards” are taking action to prove that the idea will work. Private donations are pouring in to provide incentives in the form of gift cards and bicycles to keep the homeless interested in helping out.
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