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California City Ponders Campgrounds for the Homeless

March 3, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

The city of Merced, Calif., said the Merced Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Homelessness tonight (March 3) will consider what kinds of facilities should be available at a campground. The group also will consider how long people should be allowed to stay at a campground, according to the Merced Sun-Star.

The committee will consider what kind of facilities should be available at a homeless campground, ranging from restrooms to laundry rooms to shade shelters, the city said in a news release. The number and type of facilities would raise the cost of any campground. The committee has voted to recommend that the campground be temporary, so no major permanent additions would be expected at a site.

Also on the agenda is a discussion of how long people would be allowed to stay at a campground. Campgrounds designed to transition people into housing programs tend to set time limits to encourage people to enter programming, the news release continued. Some campgrounds are intended to house the chronically homeless and may not impose any limit on the length of stay.

Carried over from previous meetings is the question of the city’s role in a campground, and what other organizations could be a partner in operating a camp and serving its users.

The committee was created by the Merced City Council to examine the issue of homeless camps and return to the council with recommendations. The council told the committee to answer eight questions regarding homeless campgrounds, including whether there should be a camp in the city.

A report is due to the council April 5 outlining the committee’s recommendations.

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