A few years ago, this tidy senior citizen enters his tent hidden among vegetation along the Susan River. Photos by Sam Williams

City addresses homeless living by the Susan River

A probation or parole officer told Lassen News this man wearing an ankle monitor is able to camp along the Susan River as his residence.

No doubt about it, the homeless population along the Susan River has raised concerns for many years.

Last fall following complaints and even threats of a possible recall of city council members from a disgruntled property owner, the Susanville City Council approved a resolution to increase the city’s general fund budget by $30,000 to “address citywide monitoring of homeless encampments and to conduct encampment closures” including “funding to close encampments, remove vegetation (and) establish a Volunteer Trail Patrol.”

The property owner later said he appreciated the city’s efforts to end the vandalism at his property and the threats to his employees.

According to that resolution, the council has designated the Susan River Trail as well as homelessness as a top council priority; city staff is actively working on eradicating litter, debris and remnants of encampments at and around the Susan River and Susan River Trail; and in order to continue efforts, funds should be designated to cover equipment and materials needed to properly enforce a city no-camping ordinance, eradicate trash and debris and designate staff to said efforts.

Recently, the city reported it has made progress in this effort, including cleaning the trail, working with other agencies to clear the vegetation along the river and an increased law enforcement presence there. Last fall the city said its goals during the next year would be to apply for a Permanent Local Housing Allocation Grant to provide housing assistance, determine options for permanent supportive housing in Susanville and support Lassen County in its efforts to connect people with housing in our community, including the county’s permanent supportive housing project.

It’s unknown if homeless people will again make camps along the river once the warm weather returns and what the city’s response to them might be.