Should the police lead the effort to reduce homelessness? Will enforcement of minor statutes reduce the presence of homeless people in Eureka?
Out of frustration many citizens want zero tolerance, that is focused and rigorous tactics to “harass” the homeless out of Eureka. Of course most homeless are from Humboldt. Others want NO enforcement, only a kind helping hand with little concern for the disorder some are having on the community, visitors and business. EPD works to balance the two extremes with a policy and practice that reduces the problem, yet shows great compassion for the houseless.
EPD has modeled policy after the lessons learned in other cities to ensure EPD behaves in a thoughtful, consistent and compassionate manner, yet still enforces the codes and statures the council and legislature have enacted. This policy was derived from negotiated settlements in Southern California between municipalities, homeless advocates and the ACLU. As you can see it has constitutional safe guards built into the policy to protect Eureka from litigation and to act with compassion, yet have some level of social order.
EPD is working diligently with the Department of Health and Human Services, (MIST and MAC)and advocates to find the best resources for individuals as Eurekan’s grapple with a social problem of great magnitude.
In the interest of transparency this policy was given to City Council on July 21, 2015. It is presented to you as well.