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Chico's ban on homeless camp evictions

Chico's Homeless Solutions Coordinator Joy Amaro said health and safety is the main goal.

Posted: Apr 17, 2020 7:10 PM
Updated: Apr 17, 2020 7:20 PM

CHICO, Calif. - During its April 7 meeting, the Chico City Council passed an ordinance placing a short-term ban on homeless camp evictions. A little over a week later and Action News Now looked into how the program is doing.

City leaders said they know people are upset but they are simply following Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

The CDC's website states unless individual housing units are available, encampments should not be cleared during the coronavirus outbreak to allow people to shelter-in-place.

Guidelines say the tents should be at least 12-feet by 12-feet per person.

RELATED: Chico City officials moving homeless into hotels

Chico's Homeless Solutions Coordinator Joy Amaro said health and safety is the main goal.

Amaro said there are groups of volunteers helping to haul away trash and educate people on the coronavirus. Still, not everyone is sold on the program.

"The majority of the people I talk to and the majority of people I'm around, are upset with this," said Barbara Bentdahl. "Maybe there's another solution out there - I haven't heard of it - but if there is, maybe we could go over that."

"There's probably no real good solution, given the circumstances, but what we have is what we have and we have to deal with it and we've got to deal with it in a humane manner," said Joe Crotts.

RELATED: Homeless encampment controversy

One woman told Action News Now she agrees with the city's decision to allow the homeless to shelter in tents during the pandemic if they have nowhere else to go.

The City of Chico said it is also placing hand washing stations, signage and portable bathrooms around town for people who need them.

City officials say the situation is constantly changing so they will continue to adust to make sure they are following CDC guidelines to protect the community.

Amaro also said the short-term ban on homeless camp evictions will be in effect for as long as we are under a stay-at-home order.

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