SANTA CRUZ, California (KSBW) -- Santa Cruz is closing an unsanctioned homeless encampment in a parking lot at the corner of Front and Laurel streets in the downtown area.

The homeless began to move out Wednesday.

Those living in the encampment were forced to move for safety reasons. Beginning Thursday, Soquel Creek Water District is scheduled to begin installing its Pure Water Pipeline.

Food Not Bombs, a nonprofit group that provides meals for the homeless, moved out of the encampment Wednesday.

"We're kind of searching for an ideal place where we're not always going to have to move," said Keith McHenry, Food Not Bombs co-founder. "Part of the thing is we are the first place that newly unhoused people connect with any kind of services."

Next week, the city will also close an emergency camping site at Depot Park that opened during the December storm. A family who lived at the site recently relocated to a transitional tent site at 1220 River Street.

"I was told, it was going to be a lot better, you know, for my family and everything to be over here so, why not," said Rebecca Brown.

The city says it'll be a different camp model with a commitment to case planning and the development of individualized service plans to create a community focus.

"Really focus on trying to connect folks o the services they need to help them get to more stable situations," said Larry Imwalle, the city's homeless response manager.

The city says once people are provided services the hope is to get them on to the next step.

"So when people in that pipeline and making that progress to find enough permanent housing locations to house people is another piece of the challenge," Imwalle said.

Another housing option is expected to open in February. Seventy-five people will be allowed to stay at the California National Guard Armory in Delaveaga Park.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has included $2 billion in his state budget proposal to address homelessness statewide. The plan includes money for mental health services, housing, and cleaning encampments. It's too early to say how much aid the city of Santa Cruz could receive.

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