Discussion over a ban on unauthorized camps was still ongoing as the Loveland City Council meeting entered the fourth hour on Tuesday.
Three options for implementing a camping ban were presented by city officials along with representatives from the Homeward Alliance, a nonprofit agency hired by the city to oversee its strategic plan on homelessness.
All of the ordinances include amendments to the Loveland Township Bylaws prohibiting overnight lodging on city properties and authorizing the “civilian disposal” of the encampments with notice.
However, the camps cannot be enforced unless the city can provide 24-hour housing. There are currently no city-owned facilities to accommodate the estimated 100 homeless people who would need to be removed.
Possible options include motel rooms, which are prohibitively expensive, many councilors said.
Other options being considered are a structured tent or “tent city,” or renting or buying a building, both of which would require ongoing staffing at an estimated cost of $100,000 to $150,000 per month. City officials did not include cost estimates for procuring the tents or a building.
Councilors Dana Foley and Steve Olson raised concerns about the city’s plans to reach people without shelter on the street, along with the camping ban.
“I wonder why that’s in here if that wasn’t the assignment given by the council,” Foley said. “That was thrown in, and I think the time the stuff was put in would have worked on other things like how much the tents cost.”
Alison Hade, administrator of the city’s Community Partnership Office, responded that street education efforts are a necessary part of long-term efforts to reduce homelessness in Loveland and should begin once the ban is enacted.
“Without proper services for the people who are actually in the camps … people will take their stuff and go somewhere else,” she said. “They’re not necessarily going to the shelter. So we’re going to be making a Whack a Mole game where you move away from King’s Crossing but potentially go onto someone’s private property.
The city estimates that it will cost $21,500 a month to hire case managers to oversee a mobile response team made up of a behavioral medicine doctor and other professionals.
The ordinance and its funding could be passed on an emergency basis, allowing immediate action (up to shelter protection), or on a non-emergency basis, subjecting it to a second reading, and delaying the ban by a few weeks. The additional budgetary appropriations would also be kept in reserve.
The Council also has the option of adopting a mix of these options, with regular regulation and emergency funding, which would help delay enforcement of the ban.
Whether the ordinance and its financing should be passed in an emergency had not yet been decided at the time of going to press.