Dear CVPPAC Members,
CALL TO ACTION FOR OUR UNHOUSED at FRESNO CITY COUNCIL THURSDAY! Important!!! Please share. We need people to speak up/ write in about several Fresno City Council items of great concern and oppose items 1-D and 1-FF:
1. There is a proposed change in ordinance (Item 1-FF) concerning “illegal occupancy” on private property that would allow for property owners to face expensive fines and clean up costs for allowing those who are homeless to be on their property. This could include safe camps and such. See more info and main points below. 2. There is a proposed change in ordinance, item 1-D, to prohibit people from being in an abatement area that that is intentionally being added to prohibit Homeless advocates from helping people during a sweep or clean up. Advocates have been crucial for helping with the rights of the unhoused and assisting them through the process of an abatement, including communicating and ensuring their needs are attended. This ordinance will hurt them. If advocates cannot be there to assist our street family, they may deal with civil rights violations without protection. It could also be used to remove those who are homeless from any abatement area. See more below
The city council is meeting this Thursday, January 13, 9:00. It is in person and on Zoom. The items listed are on the consent agenda, which means that people should speak during unscheduled communication, after council/mayor’s comments. You can also email public comment to firstname.lastname@example.org and list the agenda numbers in the subject. I highly encourage people to write in, even if they will speak, as you only have 2-3 minute to speak and can let them ahead of time where the community stands. Zoom link: : https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_W_OT_CO1Q5CwJ_sBFvE8Jw More on #1: 1-FF ID 22-111: Ordinance (for introduction) – Amending Unlawful Dumping, FMC section 10-611, to apply to illegal use of land. Ordinance doc: https://fresno.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=10386800&GUID=DD833B1B-20C4-4565-8D89-7EB1D0F077D5
The new text in this ordinance includes “illegal occupancy.” This means that private property owners could be fined for allowing people to live on their property. The second fine is $1,000 and the third fine is $3,000, plus abatement costs.
- This will affect safe camps and other arrangements in which people are allowed on a property that could be deemed illegal.
- This could very much harm homeowners kind enough to allow people on their property
- Dez shared that one homeowner was charged so much for fines and other costs that she had to just sell her property.
- This will push people with lots to remove people living on there.
- This will give the city more latitude to go after people who are camping on lots. It is also a work around to do encampment sweeps.
#2: 1-D Ordinance (for introduction) – Amending Administrative Abatement, FMC section 10-616, to clarify limits on access to restricted areas where abatements are taking place. This is an introduction, so action to approve will likely be the next meeting, but you can still speak up.http://fresno.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?m=l&id=/matter.aspx?key=13613
- Basically, the city can cordoned off an area for abatement in which no one is allowed without permission. This could include cleaning/clearing encampment
- Those who violate this could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined $250
- An Advocate heard from H Spees that this is to restrict advocates, as a result of a code enforcement officer being physical towards an advocate.
- This could be applied to advocates helping homeless in abatement efforts, and used to keep them away from accessing them. Advocates help the homeless feel like they have some power and also to know their rights and be able to stand up for it.
- It would also affect those who are homeless, in which they can be threatened with a misdemeanor and fine if they don’t move from an abatement area
- We don’t need our homeless to deal will have more useless charges on their record to hinder their lives.
- There is also the “slippery slope” and potential issues with this ordinance? I.E.: what if a child runs into a blighted house or abatement area and a parent runs into the area? Technically, that person. could be charged. The people on duty would have discretion, and the privilege would likely not face charges, but it leaves too much open.
- This is a civil and first amendment rights issue that needs to be resisted.
We would like any attorneys to look into this and speak up.
3. There is also 1-Q, which is various funding allocation from CARES Act. Our concern is that all facilities follow COVID protocols. The Village of Hope Cabins have been housing 3-4 people with bunks, which don’t allow for social distancing. The city has to ensure that there is proper COVID protocols at all shelters. (Spees denied that there were 3 people in a cabin, despite photographic evidence)
Also, please note that they will also have: 3.-B. ID 22-106: Summary of 2021 Homeless Services Investments This is information, so public comment time won’t be included
Cell (559) 978-4504