I am against the amendment of Ordinance 2466!
Do NOT amend Ordinance 2466! We are STRONGLY advocating AGAINST Vice Mayor Alex Brown’s request to amend Ordinance 2466, Offenses Against Public Property. This would absolutely be the WRONG direction for Chico. As local business owners we already have enough problems with transients and discarded needles on our property and this would only INCREASE that problem. It would also tie the hands of law enforcement. Do NOT allow Ordinance 2466 to be amended.
And they more or less amended this ordinance last night. Without public input. It is now legal for homeless encampments of 10 or less in our parks and waterways. The police can no longer do anything. There are no regulations on social distancing. We must do something.
The University came out against the Orange St. Shelter. Simplicity Village got the keebosh. 17 months ago our City declared a Shelter Crisis and since then it has approved no new shelters or campgrounds. The City has land. Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) has a plan. Contact your favorite Councilor and ask them to direct Staff to lease 2 acres to CHAT, so we can get some people off the street.
I think CHAT should continue to raise funding to buy old houses and fix them up. My family has made our business of fixing up old run down houses and renting them to working people. We improved neighborhoods while providing housing for working people. And we had to stick to the code and pass inspections, pay fees, etc. CHAT should work more within the law, stop trying to change the law for their purposes. It's hard work, but in the end it's better for the whole community.
CHAT has never tried to change the law. The legal issue that we had was a proposal by the City Attorney, and the City Planning Director. One of CHAT's five projects is to follow the successful example of the tiny home village model that is working in over 20 other towns. It is potentially the fastest way to get the most amount of people housed in the least amount of time. Research has shown that crime goes down around tiny home villages. I know too many mature women who get Social Security and can't afford market rate housing. They sleep in places not meant for human habitation.
No, CHAT hasn't tried to change any law that I know Mr. Withuhn, they simply ask to be excepted from following the law. CHAT graded that lot on Notre Dame without a permit - that's against the law, and for good reason. CHAT's tiny houses are also against the law - we have building code requirements for good reason as well. I don't want to hear about corner-cutting "potential", I want everybody to be held within the same laws. Why do some people merit special treatment?
What's the difference CHAT and the average Chico slumlord?
CHAT has never asked to be exempted from following the law. What was done was not grading by the conventional definition of the word. What was done is called grubbing just scraping the top of the field. Other cities that have tiny home villages include but are not limited to: Austin TX, Dallas TX, Oakland CA, San Jose CA, Sonoma CA, Portland OR (3), Denver, CO, Madison WI, Reno NV, Fresno CA, Ventura CA, Detroit MI, Washington D.C., New York NY (2), Tallahassee FL, and Seattle WN. (10).
"Grubbing" is the process of removing brush and stumps. CHAT brought heavy equipment in and moved top soil - that's "grading" - and it requires a permit, which CHAT did not obtain. Worse, it rained, moving who knows what into the creek - just last year that site had illegal camps without proper toilet facilities. Lastly, the building code is THE LAW, and CHAT's tiny houses are not up to code, so CHAT is asking for exemption from the law that everybody else is held to. Instead, CHAT should work with existing government agencies to build proper housing that's good for everybody's interests.
"Body found 11/29/19 homeless woman died from exposure found near Lindo Channel at the Esplanade". 4/5/19 ER front page. She is the ninth to die outside, in our area, for lack of shelter, in recent history, by our count. You would have Chico known for more deaths on the street per capita? Tiny home villages is a model that is working, saving lives, in other towns. CHAT can make it work here.
People who have died outside lately:
June 3, 47-year-old Jason Hicks was found dead 2019 2
June 2019 Wilson Grant Tyler 61 yrs old 3
Vance Lee, who died March 2, 2019
Thomas Avakian, who died Jan. 23, 2018
The guy dead on the sidewalk, discovered by the Chamber of Commerce CEO on her way to work.
Vance Lee, Grant Tyler, Jason Hicks, and the woman in the Channel 11/29/19
Middle aged man found dead in the creek April 2020
According to the latest information there are about 155 people over 55 years of age in Butte County sleeping in places not meant for human habitation.
Tiny home villages have been shown to offer the best potential to, house the most amount of people, with social distancing, for the least amount of money, in the least amount of time.
If more of our seniors were housed, with social distancing, our community would be more pandemic resistant.
Mr. Withuhn, none of the people you mention above would have fit the criteria described for residents of Simplicity Village. They would be, as described by CHAT, highly functional people. People who die on the street are mentally ill, and refuse help. Although I never knew her, I'll never forget the woman who died in the bushes along the freeway next to Lowe's. She had been released by Butte County Behavioral Health and was found wandering in a neighborhood. When contacted by police she refused help, and was last seen walking off into the darkness. Days later, she was found dead. She refused help, as many do. So, Simplicity Village would not have been a solution for that woman, or any of the people you mention.
"least amount of money, least amount of time..." So that's more important to you than proper housing?
"proper housing" is more important to you than saving lives?
Simplicity Village would not save lives Mr. Withuhn, I think that's clear. The person who chooses to refuse help and die on the street is not going to seek residence at Simplicity Village, they won't live with rules. They need to be housed in a facility with real care and services.
Let's change it
Juanita, there are about 150 people in our community over the age of 55 who sleep in places not meant for human habitation. I know several who get Social Security...they just can't afford current market rate housing, who would love a tiny home with a door that locks. Living outside dramatically reduces life expectancy.
There is housing, but they have to be able to follow rules. Just like builders have to follow rules.
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