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Official enforcement procedure of the no-camping ordinance

March 11, 2010
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This was posted for homeless campers:

 

Be Advised

 

On February 9th, 2010, the Colorado Springs City Council approved a city ordinance banning camping on public property, Camping on Public Property, 9-6-109. The ordinance is designed to remove homeless individuals along the trails and Fountain Creek, placing them into some type of program or housing, while providing necessary alternatives and possible solutions to the homeless situation. Numerous agencies exist in the Colorado Springs area that can provide assistance to the homeless population. Several of these services provide shelter or housing alternatives that are under used and funded by grants.

 

Several meetings were held between the Colorado Springs Police Department, the City Attorney’s Office, members of the A.C.L.U., service providers, homeless individuals, and members of the Colorado Springs City Council, to determine how such an ordinance should be enforced and what is necessary to minimize potential lawsuits concerning this ordinance. Having that in mind, it was decided that certain steps must be taken to insure every attempt is made to assist the homeless individual before enforcement action is taken. The C.S.P.D. H.O.T. will be giving written warnings to those individuals in violation of the ordinance. Part of that written warning will include a specific referral to an agency where that individual could be housed or receive aid. After 48 hours, the H.O.T. along with a supervisor will return to the camping spot and if the individual has not attempted to better themselves or take advantage of the aid, the H.O.T. will issue a summons for Camping on Public Prohibited. If there is no alternative for a particular individual, a summons will not be issued. If a summons has been issued, the H.O.T. will give yet another referral to a different agency and complete a case report surrounding the facts that lead to the summons. If H.O.T. returns to the area and the individual is found to be in violation a second time, the individual will be booked into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center and their tent and sleeping bag will be placed into evidence at the C.S.P.D. Evidence Annex. As is with any ordinance some circumstances may exist where discretion must be used and enforcement may be delayed.

 

The goal of the ordinance is to prevent camping on public lands and remove the risks to public health, not just arrest and move the homeless individuals. Every effort will be made to assist the homeless individual within reason, however, when all efforts are exhausted, the H.O.T. will arrest those in violation. It is also important to note that the H.O.T. will be responsible for all enforcement of the Camping on Public Land Prohibited; however, any officer may still enforce and investigate all other reported criminal activity concerning homeless individuals.

 

Although enforcement of the ordinance is to begin on Wednesday, March 03, 2010, H.O.T. has made arrangements to give an extra week for those needing help with moving and finding alternatives. On Thursday, March 11, 2010, H.O.T. will begin writing warning tickets to those in violation of the ordinance. However, this effort will begin near the intersection of I-25 and Cimarron and then extend to America the Beautiful Park.

Recently, there has been some money given to service providers to help the homeless and there are several organizations that have informed us that they have open beds and services. Please do not wait until the last minute. Contact Jeremy Silva at the Marian House or Connie and Lisa at the R.A.P. Clinic, or one of us H.O.T. Officers to allow us to assist you in finding a program that works best for you. We will also try to find a way to get things moved by volunteers. So far, we have placed over 100 people into transitional housing and employed 20. These are all possible by the community working together and helping each other out. Let us help you!

 

This ordinance only applies to City owned property. Private property owners may give you permission to stay on their property, however, we recommend you get something in writing to protect yourself.

 

From CSPD H.O.T.

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