Two campsites in the King’s Crossing area received official notice to vacate on Friday, in what the town of Loveland called a “beta test” of its camping ban enforcement processes.
Staff from the city’s Office of Risk Management and Community Partnerships were joined by Loveland Police Sgt. Garrett Osilka and SummitStone Health Partners program manager Susannah West to post the advisories, which gives encampment residents seven days to prepare for a permanent withdrawal.
The interaction between the group and the campers lasted about 10 minutes and by all accounts remained calm and cooperative.
Afterwards, Loveland’s environmental compliance administrator, Tracy Turner-Naranjo, said the couple didn’t have many questions, but wanted to know more about their item storage plan.
“The city is still working out storage, but it will be done,” she said. “But the good thing is that we currently have storage space that will meet our needs.”
Loveland City Council voted to emergency enact an outdoor camping ban on May 17, but moves have been delayed so far as city staff work on the logistics of the housing of displaced persons and storage of their belongings.
Removal of the two camps is scheduled to begin on June 24, with the assistance of third-party contractor Ambipar Response.
The city will pay for displaced campers to stay at the Rosebud Motel as an alternate shelter, until more permanent housing options become available.
According to Turner-Naranjo, residents of the encampments selected for Friday’s law enforcement are known by city staff and police to be cooperative and have expressed interest in alternative shelter.
“We tried to make it a positive experience,” she said. “So they can communicate the experience to others and get others on board.”
The next round of notices are expected to be posted from July 8, with removal seven days later.
For now, efforts will remain limited as city staff continue to search for another overnight shelter that can accommodate the approximately 100 people who will be displaced by the ban.
According to the city attorney’s office, enforcing the ordinance without an alternate lodging option has been ruled unconstitutional in other local cases, including Fort Collins and Denver.
Nicole Yost, the city’s engagement coordinator and public information officer, said more notices will begin going out once other alternatives become available.
“It really depends for us at this point on this temporary shelter space and what rooms we can get,” she said. “It’s dictating the pace.”
According to a report sent to councilors on June 14 by Deputy City Manager Ron Wensing, the city is set to secure more short-term accommodation options at local motels and also explore options at facilities. including House of Neighborly Services and 137 Homeless. Link.
However, there has been less progress in efforts to find larger or permanent accommodation solutions.
According to Osilka, there are about 40 campsites in the King’s Crossing area alone, a number that has increased in recent months as the weather has warmed.
He said most residents of the encampments have welcomed the news of an impending ban and that recent conversations with them about available resources have been “positive”.
“There are a few who are resisting,” he continued. “But most of them know they can’t stay here forever.”
Neither Turner-Naranjo nor Yost would speculate when more widespread enforcement of the ban might begin, but both said testing their processes would allow them to grow faster.
“This is new territory for us,” Yost said. “It was an opportunity for us to see how it goes, get feedback, observe and learn what issues there are. So I’m glad we’re doing this. We want to make sure we’re doing it right.