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Chico City Council continues discussion around homeless crisis

Much of the nearly 10-hour meeting was spent on budget issues, but eventually they addressed the ongoing homeless crisis.

Posted: May 19, 2021 12:47 AM

CHICO, Calif. - Tuesday’s Chico City Council meeting began five hours earlier than normal.

Much of that time was spent on budget issues, but eventually they addressed the ongoing homeless crisis.

The issue Tuesday night was whether to extend the current shelter crisis declaration two more years, as proposed by Councilmember Alex Brown.

The declaration relaxes zoning requirements, uses city land for temporary shelter for emergencies and brings funding to local organizations that help the homeless.

It is set to expire in June.

After a nearly 45-minute discussion tonight, city council voted to put off a decision on the proposed extension with Councilmember Alex Brown and Vice Mayor Kasey Reynolds voting against delaying action.

Mayor Andrew Coolidge pushed for a delayed decision to make more transparent to the public where the money to fund the shelter crisis is coming from and exactly where the money would go.

Action News Now spoke with Mayor Coolidge and CHAT Executive Director Leslie Johnson about this motion.

“I was hoping it would happen today, but they had questions and they want to think about it and discuss it some more. Hopefully, that gives them the information that they need,” she said.

“I think it’s really important while we are moving through these steps and we are looking at each of these things,” Mayor Coolidge explained. “Just like with the ad hoc committee, we want to come forward with as much information as possible before we make decisions. We want to do it quickly but at the same time do it with the information all out there so everyone can see it.”

Mayor Coolidge said they will probably have to schedule a special meeting to make a decision.

In closed session, among other things the council discussed the findings of the ad hoc committee on homelessness.

The council was able to give direction to the City Attorney on what to do with the lawsuit, but that information is being withheld for the time being.

The next city council meeting takes place June 1st.

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Dry conditions, warmer temperatures, and gusty north winds will drive high fire danger and a Red Flag Warning across most of northern California Monday. Winds will diminish and temperatures will warm up on Tuesday. We'll stay dry and heat up later this week. Cooler temperatures then return for your weekend.
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