Hollister council members Monday unanimously approved hiring an outside contractor at times when the city needs help clearing out homeless encampments.
The contract is with a company called ServiceMaster. Costs will be based on the number and size of cleanups, according to the agenda. There were no specific costs provided on the agenda, but it notes how nine positions with the contractor would be paid hourly wages of between $105 and $175.
According to the agenda: “Over the recent years, City staff has participated in several encampment cleanups. Although some of the injuries have been minor in nature, the risk of serious injuries and exposures are there.”
City Manager Bill Avera told council members Monday this has to do with major encampments, not minor ones.
“They coordinate everything with city staff as far as noticing but they take care of the entire cleanup process,” Avera said.
Mayor Ignacio Velazquez noted in the meeting how the city has used local companies in the past, but Avera said this was for larger-scale issues. The mayor also stressed how the city should encourage people to use the shelter.
Councilman Rolan Resendiz asked how often the city would use the service, and the city manager estimated four times a year.
Councilwoman Carol Lenoir mentioned how homeless issues are a lot more complicated than she realized when she joined the council last year, noting environmental issues in particular.