THERMAL, Calif. - It's been three months since families began moving out of the condemned trailer park commonly known as Duroville, but many families still live there, waiting for a new home. And we've learned they're living in deplorable conditions.
This was just brought to our attention Monday, but people living there say there's been no trash pickup for three weeks now. That's three weeks that trash has been piling up, their dumpster is overflowing so people have no choice but to put the trash outside their homes. Add that to the demolition that's going on and people are living in quite a mess.
"I don't know what happened with the trash, they don't pick it up for three weeks," said one resident who wished to not be identified.
Just driving down the streets of the trailer park, you can see the problem.
"They need to pick it up, the trash is not good here," said the resident.
We saw trash piled high in front of the homes where people are still living. There are trash cans sitting on chairs in hopes of keeping wild dogs out of it.
"The trash is thrown all over the floor, I put it together and it's all over the floor again," said another resident who did not want to be identified. "What am I going to do? If I tell the office, they tell me if I don't like it then I can leave."
Duroville was declared a public safety hazard in 2009. Since then, the county has worked to move the families living there. The goal is to have everyone out by May, but for many, that's still months away.
"Imagine if I am still there a month later and the trash is still piling up," a resident said.
"The children play all of the time outside and the trash is there," said another resident.
Not only is the garbage a problem, but people are living in trailers next to ones that are being torn down. One we saw was precariously leaning onto a property where children lived.
On one side of the park, you can see where demolition crews piled up what's left of many of these trailers. There's a fence to keep people out, but that's not the case in many other places in this park. We found rusty nails sticking dangerously out of some of the debris, very close to where children play.
"It can give the kids an infection, and they are not going to pay for them to go to the doctor," a resident told us.
People told us their rent includes trash pickup and security, two things they say they're not getting.
"The security is no longer here, but we are still paying. It's not fair that they are charging me that," said a resident.
We notified Riverside County about this problem. We also talked with Tom Flynn, the court appointed receiver for Duroville. He says they are aware of the problem, but there is really nothing they can do.
With people moving out, Flynn says there simply isn't enough people paying rent to cover the costs of the trash pickup. He says they simply can't meet the demand.
The only way to solve this, Flynn says, is for a government agency or non-profit group to step up and pay for all of this trash to be removed, or find these people new homes sooner rather than later.