Marathon Council meeting on encampment removals ends in impasse, but hints at a better path

The City Council met for five and a half hours this afternoon. The official topic was a proposed bill that would codify restrictions on the removal of unsanctioned homeless encampments, and from time to time the bill garnered a mention or two.  In the end there were no votes today on amendments or on the bill itself, and for the most part things concluded right where they began. But there were the occasional nuggets of wisdom shared, and if you squinted you could see hints of a path to get the city to a better place in its attempts to …

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Review of homeless encampment protocols gets stuck in the mud

Last fall when the City Council wrote the budget for 2018, it inserted a proviso on funding for removal and cleanup of unsanctioned homeless encampments. That proviso requires all such funding to be spent in conformance with the Multi-Department Administrative Rule (MDAR) established in January of 2017 that specified the specifics of how cleanups should be carried out. The proviso also spoke to the unease that some of the Council members feel toward that MDAR, and demanded that the executive branch review it and recommend changes by: Furthermore, the Council intends that the Executive shall review MDAR 17-01 and FAS …

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Office of Civil Rights once again monitoring homeless encampment cleanups

Earlier this year, the city issued an update to its protocol for cleaning up unsanctioned homeless encampments. Notably missing from those rules was a formal role for the Office of Civil Rights in monitoring implementation and compliance, as it had been doing last fall when the city was accused of not following its own rules.  The Office of Civil Rights  stopped its monitoring work in January, but after public outcry the city backtracked and said that it would use the department in an “audit capacity.” Last month, three city departments quietly signed a Memorandum of Agreement re-establishing a formal monitoring …

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