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    Jan 19, 2017; 3:00 PM ET
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    CBS12 Chico

    Community wants answers to homeless concerns

    Chico residents are pleading for an answer to the growing problem of homelessness, and the public safety and health concerns that go along with it.

    The city is searching for data-driven long term solutions, and then there are rogue community activists who want to take matters into their own hands.

    But many local residents agree that perhaps it would be best to somehow find a more permanent place for the homeless to go.

    "We bike a lot, so we see a lot of encampments where people should obviously not be," explained Diane Robel, who has lived in Chico for about four years. "We're thinking the police aren't moving them out because it just creates more problems."

    Nearly everyone has been affected in some way by homelessness, and the many problems associated with it.

    This Fall, one man tried to help the problem by opening a leased property in south Chico to homeless campers, and it's been a non-stop battle due to lack of planning or zoning rights.

    "The thing about the property out of town and when I see people around town is the sanitary issues," said Robel.

    But local residents say while the illegal camp isn't the answer, there's got to be some middle ground.

    "Maybe we can have more shelter," said Chico mom Mariko Kanata. "So many kids are homeless, in families, so they have a roof to sleep."

    Others say rather than just finding a place for these people to go, the city should be addressing the physical and mental health issues that lead to homelessness in the first place.

    "Actually try to educate people in becoming healthy, being able to think motivate and actualize themselves in their lives," suggested resident Brendon Parker.

    But often, there's a catch.

    "That needs more tax, we need to find a way to use the tax wisely," said Kanata.

    And the city is already pouring resources into not just finding a solution, but addressing issues as they come up.

    The Chico Fire Department says there's more and more concern about transient-started fires.

    "That's becoming a growing problem for us, and Chico is one of the top 5 cities for arsons," said Captain John Kelso.

    "I don't have a solution, I wish someone did, so we could take these people and put them some place that makes sense," said Robel.


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