Salinas Mayor and Homeless Reach Agreement, Ending Four Night Demonstration
February 4, 2013
Salinas officials and homeless protesters came to an amicable agreement this morning, following a four night demonstration in front of City Hall.
Mayor Joe Gunter and City Manager Ray Corpuz met with a group of about 10 homeless people and advocates to discuss concerns like health, safety, and living space. The homeless people had been staked out at the government building since being displaced by a city "sweep" of Chinatown last week.
“We had a very positive meeting,” Gunter said. “There was respect on both sides.”
The city officials agreed to hold regular meetings with the homeless population to gather input as the city works on resolving issues with homelessness, the mayor said.
The city is also looking to find a temporary living solution for the homeless people who relocated after the city cleaned up Chinatown’s Soledad Street, a popular gathering place for the homeless.
Gunter said the city is examining “several options,” but could not yet provide details.
The homeless demonstrators, meanwhile, have agreed to leave their protest site.
Eugene Bigay, who lives in his RV and was part of the protest, commended the officials and Salinas police for their courtesey and graciousness during the whole ordeal.
“We’re going to be part of the decision making process,” said Bigay, who writes for Voices of the Street, a newspaper for the homeless. “We’re very happy with that.”