Castro Valley homeowners billed $300 for cleanup of nearby homeless encampment

A community and city in the East Bay are at odds over a homeless encampment and a property line.

The former homeless encampment was located in the San Lorenzo Creek ravine, off the beaten path, well below Castro Valley's Lakewood neighborhood.

The homeowners association management firm sent homeowners a bill for $300 each for the cost associated with cleaning up the ravine, which totaled more than $20,000. 

"The homeowners association was informed and they just didn't take any action.   I don't know if they didn't want to or they were just kind of being careless," said Lakewood homeowner An Loung. 

Resident Augie Bau added, "And it's not like it's on our property and we could see somebody camping out here and we could do something, but it's kind of out somewhere." 

It turns out, the homeless encampment was on their property as determined by Alameda County. 

The homeowners assumed their association and management firm knew the precise boundaries. 

"You should know exactly where your property line is and he said he didn't know.  So, I don't really think that's an excuse," said Loung.

Once the management firm was notified by the county to clean it up, it says it immediately got the county to evict the tenants last August. 

Five months later, with several clean up bids in hand, the association's board of directors has yet to choose one. 

Some homeowners are not paying and said the expense should be shared with the management firm and the county. 

"At least part of the responsibility for the negligence and stupidity, instead of putting everything on us," said Luong.

Out of the hundreds of items in the abandoned camp, four things stuck out—  a teddy bear, toy truck, and two car seats, which is more proof that the homeless crisis is spirling. 

"To me, it's more a societal problem. It's not just in Castro Valley. It's not just in the Bay Area. It's throughout the country we have lots of homeless people," said Bau.

On Friday, two Alameda County sheriff's deputies finished another routine inspection of the ravine. But, there's no guarantee the homeless will not return to the area or on someone else's private property where the owners become liable.