Does Atascadero's homeless/vagrant population pose a problem?

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I have heard from numerous downtown business owners, parents, community supporters, and visitors of Sunken Gardens that the homeless/vagrant population in the area poses issues concerning public health, business, and the downtown environment.

In speaking with certain department heads and managers of the City of Atascadero, I was told that there is no concern.

My personal experience on Sunday was to drive around the park and count 11 disheveled — sleeping, or sitting — people around the park, with two (a father and daughter) coming in to use the park. Is this a problem? I don't know. Does a vagrancy population deter locals or visitors from using the park? I don't know. It is a part of the comfortability factor for me and my family, and others I have spoken with.

Do we have enough resources dedicated to our homeless/vagrant population to serve the mental health, drug addiction, hunger issues, or other problems that disproportionately impact these citizens?

What does your experience bear out —would you like to see a dedicated program from the City to engage the homeless/vagrant population more proactively? Do we need a effort to address this, city-wide?

Sign and share this petition if you think this needs a good hard look.