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City Council Asked to Consider 'Chico Safe Now' Proposals

A series of proposals and suggestions geared toward solving problems around homelessness will go before council Tuesday night.

Posted: May 15, 2018 11:41 AM
Updated: May 15, 2018 11:45 AM

Chico, Calif.-- It's a problem that continues to be on the forefront of city leaders' minds: homelessness in Chico.

Tuesday night, city council will consider a series of proposals collectively called "Chico Safe Now".

Councilmember Andrew Coolidge says the city should consider declaring a shelter emergency crisis in the city.

He says it could open up some new options for affordable housing.

"The shelter emergency crisis would allow us to forgo some requirements for housing - something like CHATS, Simplicity Village would be easier to enact if we did that. Marysville has recently done it in the last couple of years and actually they've had really a lot of success with that," said Coolidge.

Usually, the money for these 'tiny house' projects come from private donations.

The one that Coolidge reference in Marysville allows people to live in these very small private spaces - for a small price and strict requirements for cleanliness and accountability.

Also on the council's plate for consideration are a few ordinances.

Up until the end of 2016, the city had a a law in place that barred people from this type of loitering and camping; but it expired, and Coolidge says it's a missed opportunity for law enforcement - and for getting those struggling the help that they may need.

"It's really a good tool to open a conversation- if we have someone maybe with mental health problems or involved with some aspects of crime and they;re just sitting there, this is a great way, a good tool for the police to interact with those people," said Coolidge.

The city councilmember is asking the rest of council to take a look at a shopping cart ordinance - this would be some sort of city-wide law to require stores to create a lock or alert system to keep carts on the property.

He says it's not just a visual nuisance - the number of carts that make their way into the waterways is just sky-rocketing, and they cause environmental damage as they begin to break down.

Coolidge also says its time to invest more time and energy into shutting the parks down at night.

As for the city's ability to actually enforce any new regulations that could be enacted in the future?

The police department is slowly bringing on more officers as they complete training, and coolidge says he feels confident that the department's target teams can handle enforcement if they're given license to get the jobs done.

All of these proposals will have to be put on the agenda individually by city council; they'll be discussed at the meeting Tuesday night.

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