Bill Mash always had a project going Chico loses an activist and story-teller that gave the unhoused a voice

photo by Karen Laslo
Mash at KZFR radio station where he produced programs.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Dec. 5

Eric Mash remembers how his father, Bill “Guillermo” Mash, always had projects underway. So when his father told the family that he had decided to move to Chico and write about homelessness, no one was surprised.

“He fell in love with Chico,” Eric said. “He just had this passion and fire within him to help others, and to always love and care about everybody. He did everything on a bicycle … helping the homeless, helping all the causes.”

Chico writer, radio personality and tireless advocate Bill Mash is being remembered by the Chico community as many friends and loved ones mourn his sudden death last week after a heart attack on Nov. 19. read more

Shootings at Teichert Ponds encampment alarm activists DA: Self defense "difficult thing" to overcome

photo by Natalie Hanson
A tent at the Teichert Ponds site.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Nov. 5

Shootings at Chico’s Teichert Ponds has some residents worried that unhoused people are facing increasing violence -– perhaps linked to rising levels of “dehumanizing” speech targeting them.

A shooting at the Ponds killed an unhoused man and left another seriously injured last year, and a shooting last month in the same preserve nearly killed another unhoused man. Both shootings involved people entering the Teichert Ponds encampment with the likely intent to “start a fight,” in District Attorney Mike Ramsey’s opinion. read more

Final steps underway for pallet shelter site Advocates: Management style may affect outcomes

photo by Karen Laslo
Pallet shelters

by Natalie Hanson
posted April 4

The city’s court-ordered pallet shelter project is close to completion, and advocates for unhoused people are hopeful but cautious about its chance for success.

The proposed code of conduct and the operating standards for the site are now being finalized. The city, plaintiffs and the judge must agree on these standards in order to finalize insurance and open the site on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, said Jesus Center Executive Director Amber Abney-Bass.

Advocates for the unhoused are cautiously optimistic, but have concerns about how the management style will affect use of the site. One question some have is whether there will be armed security. read more

Settlement ends lawsuit against City of Chico Vice mayor makes 11th-hour bid to postpone settlement

photo by Karen Laslo
Evicted campers leave their site after a sweep.

by Leslie Layton / commentary
posted Jan. 15

A settlement agreement in the lawsuit related to the city’s treatment of unhoused people, signed Friday by a federal judge, could end the spectacle of chaotic mass evictions that stranded campers who had nowhere to go.

Early last year, a newly-installed City Council began a series of sweeps in parks, near waterways and on patches of grass on public land.

Journalists watched as workers came in atop tractors, rumbling through encampments where displaced people had pitched tents and had failed to move their few belongings to who knows where – until we weren’t allowed to watch. read more

Emergency shelter program shuts down Unexplained closure moves some people to the streets

photo by Leslie Layton
ChicoSol’s editor was greeted by a True North staffer and a security guard.

by Leslie Layton
posted Nov. 30, 2021

A Chico nonprofit shut down an emergency hotel-based shelter program today, and this reporter was told to leave the property at Town House Motel where residents had been staying.

The program, funded by the CARES Act, placed unhoused people at high risk for COVID or COVID-related complications in motels and hotels. The shelter program was expected to stay in place until the end of January 2022, but was ended Nov. 30 after participants were given two weeks notice. read more

Grass-roots activism rescues some Comanche residents Homeless encampments flooded; many have nowhere to go

photo by Chris Nelson
Activist Chris Nelson found Teichert’s rising pond water seeping into tents and the path out flooded.

by Leslie Layton

The winter sheltering organization Safe Space jumped into high gear today as a ferocious early storm flooded homeless encampments. But Safe Space said it was only able to shelter 35 of the hundreds of unhoused people living in encampments.

Siana Sonoquie, a Safe Space board member, said she was contacted early today by an unhoused resident of the Comanche Creek encampment who reported that the area was flooding, tree limbs were falling down and one person was missing. “We started looking for a church,” Sonoquie said. “We’re used to doing this now and have a pretty quick system, with protocols in place and a lot of practice.” read more