The local SLO Bangers group is hosting a clothing and supply drive starting today, May 29, for houseless community members in Morro Bay who were recently displaced.
SLO Bangers is a syringe exchange and overdose prevention program that helps individuals with substance addiction, aims to decrease the transmission of blood diseases and prevent drug overdoses in the San Luis Obispo community. They provide many of these services to houseless community members.
On May 24, a houseless encampment, one served by SLO Bangers for nearly a year, was bulldozed by Vistra Energy Corp. The company owns the land where the Morro Bay Power Plant used to operate and where 20 to 30 people were residing, according to SLO Bangers Site Manager Lo Petty.
Petty said that people who lived in the area bulldozed were not allowed to retrieve their property when the bulldozing began at 7 a.m. with many losing much of their personal belongings. Those that tried to get their property were told they would be arrested.
The people living in the houseless encampment were given five days notice about the planned bulldozing. Petty said that many times they had been told to move by the Morro Bay Police Department, yet nothing ever happened. Until this week.
Petty said the people displaced are now taking it “day by day.”
Petty referred to the camp as “unusual,” as they fostered a community amongst each other.
“They looked out for each other, they made sure nobody went without food, they made sure that people had as much as they needed,” Petty said. “It was really a joy to go there, in some respects, just because of how caring all the people who live there are towards one another.”
The most needed items for this community are tents, nylon sleeping bags, tarps, socks and underwear, sweatshirts and personal care items.
All items donated to the drive will be given to people displaced from the Morro Bay encampment.
SLO Bangers members will be at Mitchell Park today at 3 p.m. accepting donations. For those unable to drop off items, SLO Bangers can arrange to pick up items. Call or text them at (805) 458-0123 to schedule a pick up time.
“Something has to be done,” Petty said. “They need to recognize that these people are no different than anyone else. They’ve just had a little, you know, hard times.”