SAN ANTONIO – Park benches, bus stops, streets and sidewalks are just a few of the places Dellview neighborhood residents say are being taken over by homeless vagrants.
On Monday, community members with the Dellview Citizen on Patrol group teamed up with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and Haven for Hope to do something about the issue.
“The mobile command center brought mental health units. They brought undercover agents patrolling, regular patrol agents,” said Jeroen Zijlema, with the Dellview Citizen on Patrol group.
Geary Luft was born and raised in the Dellview community. He said the neighborhood is nothing like it used to be because of the growing homeless population.
“They get drunk, or they consume whatever drugs they have, and then they just crash out wherever they are — bus benches, some by the dumpsters, some up here hidden behind buildings,” Luft said.
Monday’s event wasn’t only about getting homeless people off the street but also connecting them with resources, so they don’t end up back there. While some were directed to shelters, others living on the streets who were found to have active warrants were taken to jail.
The “sweep” was the first of what neighbors hope will become a monthly occurrence. They said they know the problem won’t go away overnight, but they feel every effort helps.
“We’re always going to have vagrants in our neighborhood. They’re always going to come back — come from out of state, out of the country. So what we’re trying to do together with the sheriff’s department is make this a reoccurring activity,” Zijlema said.