Pallet shelters offer refuge, future Evictions are ongoing as City faces persistent homelessness

photo by Karen Laslo
Pallet shelters now comprise “Genesis.”

by Leslie Layton
posted Nov. 9

Part II of a two-part series. Read part I on surviving extreme conditions here.

Beyond the gate that secures southeast Chico’s “Genesis,” the little grey sleeping cabins are in orderly lines. There are suggestions that this is home, for the moment, to occupants who have planted a cactus garden, or leaned a bicycle against their pallet shelter, or left a walker by the door.

The 177 pallet shelters – the village named Genesis — provide autonomy and greater security than the occupants, who were previously unsheltered, probably had before they moved in. They’re a key piece in what success the City has had in responding to homelessness, a product of the 2022 settlement in the Warren v. Chico lawsuit. read more

Affordable housing comes on line in Butte Demand fierce; homelessness unresolved

photo by Leslie Layton
Butte County Housing Authority Executive Director Ed Mayer at the play area of North Creek Crossings, an affordable housing complex.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Sept. 18

Affordable housing for low-income renters is growing increasingly available across Butte County -– even as the population of unhoused people grows.

There has been progress on the housing gap as new affordable housing developments come on line, and more expensive homes free up units for those qualifying for low-income units, said Butte County Housing Authority Executive Director Ed Mayer.

However, Mayer’s skeptical that the 3,056 new, affordable homes that are planned, under construction or recently opened can put more than a dent in demand in this county of about 200,000 residents. read more

Cities advised to prepare for extreme heat, climate crisis With no plan in place, heat waves become another threat to Chico's homeless

photo by Karen Laslo
On a recent 100-degree day, residents of the City-sanctioned encampment were sweating it out.

by Natalie Hanson
posted July 24

With no city-wide plan for extreme heat in place, Chicoans have few resources to fall back on during dangerous heat waves like the one last week. Like much of California, the City now often faces stretches of days with high temperatures topping 100 or even 110 degrees.

Extreme heat threatens vulnerable residents across the state — including thousands of farm workers toiling in the heat, low-income residents in poor-quality housing and thousands of unhoused people with few options for safe shelter. But Chico does not have a long term plan for managing extreme temperatures. read more

An open letter to Chico City Council Eileen Robinson comments on City's new campsites for unhoused people

photo by Karen Laslo
The City is marking 20×20-foot spaces for each unhoused individual who occupies this site.

Editor’s note: Chico resident Eileen Robinson shared a March 13 letter she sent to the Chico City Council regarding the City’s newly-designated campsites at Eaton and Cohasset roads. The city has set up two new sites for unhoused people to comply with a judge’s order.

Honorable Council Members and Mr. Sorenson,
I saw the televised account of Target Team members visiting designated campsite one and issuing citations because some folks didn’t have permission to be there.

The news report said two additional campsites were being prepared across Cohasset Road for the people being cited to move to. Saturday morning I drove out to take a look at sites 2-3. There are two areas with green fencing that is difficult to see through around them. What I was able to see were flagged stakes that appear to have designated the 20/20 foot area each person will be allowed to occupy. read more

Bill Mash always had a project going Chico loses an activist and story-teller who 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