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Published on Friday, March 17, 2017

Cities testify on complicated bill addressing unregulated encampments and youth homelessness

Cities, counties and human services providers testified in opposition to SB 5864 in the Senate Ways & Means committee on March 16. The bill includes a number of subjects and problematic elements.

Most notable for cities, the bill prohibits unauthorized camping on public or private property and requires local governments to enforce this prohibition, with penalties for local governments that don’t enforce. The bill preempts the entire field of regulation of homeless encampments with standards generated by the state, and mandates that cities create homeless camps sufficient to house all homeless in the community by a certain date.

The future for this proposal is uncertain. An earlier version of the bill already failed to get traction, but this proposal was revived and heard again. Clearly, there is interest in the Senate to do something to address these issues. We continue to work with the sponsor and a number of entities to see if any common ground can be found.

Categories: Human services