by Addison Winslow
guest commentary posted Sept. 3
The Warren v Chico settlement forced Chico into a reckoning with homelessness; such a reckoning that city policy now has the effect of a boulder rolling down a hill. Not once since I was sworn into office last December has the City Council been asked for or given direction on homelessness.
Taking the settlement forced on us by a federal court as the entirety of our City’s policy to address homelessness puts Chico in a rut. Because the court decided that a shelter bed only qualifies as a token for eviction if it is indoors, we have sidelined the quickest and simplest option to improve conditions of people camping in public spaces: managed camping in an environmentally responsible location. The biggest absurdity of this is that, as part of the settlement agreement, we have sanctioned campgrounds (three of them, technically, though all at the same intersection), and regulation is just piecemeal or nonexistent.