On Sept. 8, Blythe Little League (BLL) President Troy Love reported some updates on the youth organization’s status to officials – one point of which underlined the ongoing impact of the homeless populace on public ballpark property.
“I know at the last (Aug. 11) meeting I was here, Mr. (Richard) Phipps and Mr. (Mike) Farrage presented some problems they were having. As you guys know, those problems are all over town. We deal with them at the park, all the time,” said Love. “Last Thursday (Sept. 3) we had a fire. At first we thought it was the Snack Shack; turned out to be a trash can. Blythe PD (Police Department) did detain someone running from the area – a known fire bug. I also had information the night before that we might have a fire there because of a homeless person. It was a trash can that was set on fire – it was drug to the Snack Shack, set underneath the serving bar there, and lit on fire. Had it not been for the Blythe Fire Department’s quick response, that could have been really bad if it had caught that wooden bar and then traveled inside the building.”
The main Snack Shack, which helps financially carry BLL, also has service equipment stored inside.
“The only loss we have is one of the large trash cans donated by CR&R and scorching of the side of the building and a serving counter,” stated Love on Sept. 3 following the fire.
As noted by Love on social media, BLL has already taken a “huge financial loss” due to COVID-19.
“I’d like to be involved – I don’t need another board to be involved in, I have three already – but I’d like to meet with Mallory and Mr. Phipps and Mr. Farrage on some issues that are going on there at the park and, of course, all over town,” said Love to officials.
The county’s published 2020 Point-In-Time (PIT) Count data found Blythe’s number of homeless to have increased from 48 in 2019 to 73 this year – a 34.25% increase.
Leadership and officials have previously agreed that the annual reported PIT data figure is only a snapshot of the actual number of homeless individuals in each city, with the actual number estimated to be higher.
All told, Blythe’s 2020 PIT count data showed the homeless population in town makes up approximately 12% of Riverside County’s 4th District.