The city of Eureka has halted enforcement on a camping ordinance that was set to take effect tonight at midnight according to a release by the Legal Services of Northern California and Disability Rights California.
The Eureka City Council passed the ordinance on Nov. 17 prohibiting involuntary camping in most parts of Eureka including business districts and high-use trail areas.
The Legal Services of Northern California along with other local organizations like the Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives (AHHA) opposed the decision and believe that the ordinance “violates recent federal court decisions and despite the fact that the City has insufficient shelter space,” and are urging the city council to “refrain from criminalizing homelessness.”
According to the release, the Eureka City Council will reconsider the ordinance at its next meeting on Jan. 5.
Eureka City Attorney Robert Black informed the Legal Services of Northern California that the ordinance won’t be enforced, but reconsidered with minor modifications.
“Now, more than ever, the City needs to show up for its most vulnerable. Rather than putting its efforts toward circumventing the constitutional protections of homeless individuals, the City should focus on ensuring all its residents’
basic needs are met,” said Rebecca Smith, of Legal Services of Northern California. “We call on the City to seize this opportunity to reconsider its approach to homelessness in our community, and to commit itself to effective, evidence-based solutions to support Eureka residents who do not have shelter. The public health and safety of the community during this devastating time depends on the support of our leaders.”
Read the full press release below.