Valley News -

By Jeff Pack

Temecula's Homeless Outreach Team hosts Community Cleanup Day


Last updated 7/26/2019 at 2:06am

Jeff Pack photo

Homeless Outreach Team administrator for Temecula, Robin Gilliland, talks to volunteers before the Community Cleanup Day hosted by the city Saturday, July 20.

Targeting areas known to have been inhabited by the homeless population within the city of Temecula recently, the city's Homeless Outreach Team and more than 75 volunteers spent the morning of Saturday, July 20, cleaning up with the help of Riverside County Sheriff HOT officers and the Social Work Action Group.

"Today we're coming out with about 75 volunteers, adults, teenagers, children that care about the community and Temecula, and we're headed out to clean up the washes and see if we can find (homeless people to reach out to)," Riverside County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Robert Menchaca said. "We will be there to protect the community and item collect needles and anything that might be dangerous."

The cleanup was arranged by the city's HOT team, and according to Robin Gilliland, Homeless Outreach Team administrator for Temecula, this event is just one of the approaches the team is using to combat homelessness within the city.

"We get so many individuals within our community that want to help those experiencing homelessness on our streets," Gilliland said. "This is just one prong of a multipronged approach. As (the homeless population) moves on from space to space, they leave debris behind, so we want to keep our community clean but also environmentally clean to keep our city safe and secure and keep our waterways as clean as we can.

"Believe it or not, coming along behind these individuals experiencing homeless and making them move along is sometimes an incentive for them to get help because they get tired of being moved along," Gilliland said.

Groups of volunteers visited sites on the north and south side of town, collecting garbage and clothing left behind as Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and Temecula Public Works employees helped dispose of the garbage.

Jeff Pack photo

Volunteers pick up trash near Margarita Road in north Temecula.

In an area near County Center Drive, a Riverside County Sheriff's deputy helped a man clear out the encampment he had made near the Santa Gertrudis Creek Trail on a hillside. The deputy helped the man collect his things and dispose of garbage, which the volunteers took to a nearby pile they had created.

Gilliland said that when it was all said and done, the groups had collected enough garbage to fill 250 trash bags and collected 4.5 tons of trash. She said two individuals experiencing homelessness met with SWAG to being case management, meaning they were taking steps to get off the streets.

To learn more about Temecula's Homeless Outreach Team, visit

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]


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