When Merced’s biggest homeless encampment on Highway 59 and Santa Fe cleared earlier this year, a majority of the homeless left the area, but a few remained taken camp on a small bridge just a few feet away.

It started with one, and has continuously grown since, becoming dangerously overcrowded.

Public officials are well aware of the homeless encampment on the overcrowded bridge, but are trying to figure out if it’s a City issue or a County issue.

As for as Merced County’s homeless problem in general, options to contain the homeless problem was explored in the latest initial county wide homeless planning meeting; they’re currently exploring options for low barrier shelter sites in the City of Merced and Los Banos as well as shelter alternatives in less impacted jurisdictions.

The ideas range from sanctioned encampments, sprung structures, housing in the form of shipping containers, and tough shed tiny homes.

According to public officials, only 1 out of 10 homeless individuals accept services.