Tuesday , May 28 2024

Police Discover Underground Cave Used by Homeless as Shelter

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<p>Fresno police officers with the Homeless Task Force discovered an underground cave Wednesday afternoon that they believe the people who are&nbsp;homeless have been using as shelter.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The cave was located in the 1200 block of E. Vassar Ave. in an empty lot between two boarded up apartment complexes.</p><p>The hole was about six feet deep and six feet long underground.&nbsp;</p><p>With items like tents, clothing and flashlights around the cave, it appeared people had been sleeping in it.</p><p>&quot;My guess would just be to find some shelter, find some place that’s hidden,&quot; said Josh Knapp with the Fresno Police Homeless Task Force.</p><p>Officers&nbsp;received a&nbsp;tip that led them to the empy lot. Tents and a makeshift structure kept the hole out of plain sight.</p><p>They called the street department to fill the hole with dirt &quot;because of the danger that it poses to citizens, kids, dogs, anything,&quot; Knapp said.</p><p>When police arrived, a man there told them the person who dug the hole had already left and that a few people had been staying there.</p><p>Police said the man was able to take his personal belongings with him.</p><p>In Fresno, the issue of homelessness is a large problem.</p><p>Homeless advocate Jody Ketcheside works with&nbsp;Turning Point of Central California and the Fresno&nbsp;Madera Continuum of Care. She said in January, a count of the homeless showed about 900 people are living on the streets in Fresno.</p><p>&quot;It makes me really sad. People are in different stages in their homelessness,&quot; Kethcheside said.</p><p>She said&nbsp;outreach teams go to the streets regulary to try to make contact with people who are homeless and offer them services, but she said many people try to hide or simply don’t know they need help.</p><p>&quot;Sometimes people are not ready to ask for help. It takes a while to build trust with people who are going out in the streets and doing surveys with them and trying to offer them services,&quot; Kethcheside said.</p></div>

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