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City officials clear up confusion over shelter crisis declaration in Chico

Chico city officials say that the action taken by the city council during Tuesday's meeting did not officially rescind the shelter crisis declaration.

Posted: Apr 9, 2021 5:55 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2021 5:56 PM

CHICO, Calif. - A city council declaration is creating some confusion about the state of Chico's homeless problem.

Chico city officials say that the action taken by council during Tuesday's meeting did not officially rescind the shelter crisis declaration.

“There would have to be a vehicle that came back to the city council in the same form as what actually put it in place, and that's a resolution,” said Chico city manager, Mark Orme.

Orme says council would have to adopt that resolution to get rid of the 2018 crisis declaration.

Action News Now spoke with Councilwoman, Kami Denlay who called for ending the declaration.

"We're all looking for solutions on all sides, we might have different approaches, but we are all looking into it a lot, and in the process of looking into what we could do to help, it became really clear to me that helping is going to be mental health treatment and drug treatment, the solution isn't necessarily a shelter-related solution but there is deeper issues," said Denlay.

Denlay says right now the city averages about 50 open shelter beds per night.

Action News Now confirmed the open beds are at the Torres Shelter.

"Looking at that info, it's like well, we don't have a shelter crisis, we have a mental health and drug crisis, and therefore, maybe we direct staff into looking at ending that crisis which is what we did."

When asked about the potential financial impacts ending the declaration could cause, Denlay says, "That's part of the tricky part with all of this, is we've been asking for a long time for really detailed funding, because it's complicated to see what streams come into the county, what comes from the state, the feds, what are the requirements for all of the funding, and every funding stream has totally different requirements, some may be tied to the declaration in part, some might be solely tied to the declaration, some may not be at all. And we get to see that because it's complicated and we've never gotten a straight answer, we're going to get straight answers now," said Denlay.

The shelter crisis declaration is set to expire in June, city council members will look into any potential impacts before deciding to officially rescind it or renew it.

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