Aurora, Colo. (CBS4) – The city of Aurora is trying to figure out a solution for their rising homeless population. Mayor Mike Coffman proposed a camping ban similar to Denver’s.
“I think it’s fair to our residents but also it’s humane,” Coffman said in a Housing, Neighborhood Services and Redevelopment Policy Committee meeting on Thursday.
Coffman says the ban isn’t meant to criminalize people experiencing homelessness, just get them into a place where they can receive help.
“Nobody is going to be charged with anything for camping in and of itself,” Coffman explained. “It’s only if they fail to move and that there is a designated place for them to go.”
Not all committee members are in favor of the ordinance.
“It’s preposterous to call this a proposal to help people and I refuse to go along with the charade,” said council member and committee vice chair Alison Coombs.
Coombs says the Denver ban didn’t work and Aurora needs to forge their own way forward.
“Our staff has put together a slate of proposals that they are currently working on that are something different than what we are currently doing,” she said.
Coffman says he isn’t done fighting for his ordinance yet. He is bringing it to the Public Safety Courts and Civil Service Committee and then to the full Council for a first reading vote.
Council member Coombs says she would rather support other ideas to address this issue.
“It includes outdoor camping options, it includes possibly building new shelters, it includes getting people access to supportive housing and affordable housing.” Coombs said.
Coffman says he can also ask to bring the ordinance to a public vote, but he wants to work with the council on this issue. He expects a first reading vote on the ordinance by the end of the month.