With the Pallet homeless shelter having opened at the former BMX racetrack in south Chico on April 25, city officials have rolled out the outreach and enforcement cycles prescribed in the Warren v. City of Chico lawsuit settlement.
Interim City Manager Paul Hahn detailed the procedures at the City Council meeting May 4, at which time he reported the 177-unit shelter had 45 steady residents. More will come as the city moves “methodically” through areas where homeless encampments total up to 50 residents, in three-week cycles. First up is downtown—City Hall, City Plaza, Lost Park, Annie’s Glen—due to the proximity of events like Thursday Night Market and Friday Night Concerts.
Hahn said the city was being “creative, humane, trying to balance needs of the homeless and the community.” Mayor Andrew Coolidge told the CN&R he was “very happy with the progress that we’re making now. … It’s pretty miraculous, I think, in terms of the timing of it, and of course I’m very pleased to be getting back to enforcement [of anti-camping ordinances] in our parks and waterways.”
Councilwoman Alex Brown disagreed with those assessments: “Head in the sand, as usual. Willful ignorance of the bigger picture of how our community is feeling and what they’re experiencing,” she told the CN&R, “and painting a pretty rosy picture of what’s taking place as it relates to the homelessness issue, which has affected so many.”