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By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2018 (Ramona) -- Nine homeless people were arrested last week and charged with trespassing for camping along the Santa Maria Creek in the Ramona area.

According to the Ramona Sentinel, those arrested were warned during prior sweeps and a cleanup of the area that they would have to relocate, but did not do so.

Sheriff’s detective Robert Samuels said that deputies also found stolen property and narcotics at the camps. He told the Sentinel that illegal fires pose a risk of causing brush fires, while human waste and trash dumping pose environmental problems for the waterway.

At two sweeps in January, those present were offered help tot access services for housing, food, mental health and substance abuse, and four accepted the assistance.

The Creekside encampments are part of a growing homeless problem in the unincorporated areas, where the number of homeless people has grown as urban areas such as San Diego have stepped up enforcement actions targeted homeless individuals.

Yet the County of San Diego, unlike the city, still has no shelter for the homeless in the entire unincorporated region.