Update 3:27 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 - Action News Now has reached out to current Chico councilmembers for comment. We will update this article when we have more information to share about this story.
CHICO, Calif. - The Butte County Democratic Party issued a letter to Chico City Council members on Saturday urging them to halt evictions of unsheltered people from city parks, and instead to focus attention on identifying a "safe space for these folks to relocate."
The interim chairperson for the Butte County Democratic Party, James Aram, signed the letter.
"By evicting people from their makeshift housing without providing proper shelter or a sanctioned campground, death by exposure to cold and wet winter weather is a possible outcome," said Aram in the letter.
"Evictions also will result in the dispersion of homeless communities, further traumatizing its members, and making the work of service providers even more difficult," continued Aram.
The Democrats said in the letter a majority of the current council ran on the position that the last one did not address the housing and homeless crisis. According to Aram's letter, they are "alarmed and deeply saddened" that the first order of business of the new City Council was to "empower the police" to make the evictions.
CLICK HERE to read about the latest actions of the Chico City Council concerning banning camping from parks
The Democratic Party notes in the letter that many people homeless in Chico are Camp Fire survivors. A month prior to the November 2018 Camp Fire, the Chico City Council declared a 'shelter emergency,' and the Camp Fire refugees added to the problem of not having enough shelter beds in the community.
"The problem of homelessness has grown to catastrophic levels due to the complete lack of shelter space during the pandemic," said Aram in his letter to Chico City Council members.
The letter ended with a plea for the Council to "find safe shelter for our unhoused residents before evicting them from their current encampments."