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Last week’s New Times (“You can’t go home, and you can’t stay here,” Feb. 23) took the city to task for enforcing our ordinances prohibiting overnight vehicle camping on Prado Road (and elsewhere).

The city and the Community Action Partnership (CAPSLO) work very hard to address the problem of homelessness. We cannot, however, simply disregard the presence of ad-hoc homeless encampments anywhere in our city, whether on public or private property. The city’s enforcement efforts are in response to various health and safety concerns, and to illegal conduct. To ignore these concerns would help nobody, and puts our community at risk.

Together, the City and CAPSLO are determined to find a “Path to a Home” for our homeless population, especially those who want to be housed and who abide by the law. On Feb. 21, the city allocated $240,969 for CAPSLO homeless services, including the maximum allowable from Federal Block Grants and more than $100,000 from our General Fund. We’re proud of the partnership between the city and CAPSLO, the People’s Kitchen, Friends of Prado Day Center, and many advocates for affordable housing.

This month, the City Council will discuss opportunities to create a “safe parking” pilot program at the Prado Day Center, and possibly at other sites within or near the city. We want to improve the security and the overall “safety net” for our homeless population, including those who cannot be accommodated in our shelter or overflow facilities.

We ask for patience, and for the willing collaboration of all parties to this issue. We cannot, however, ignore the problem of illegal vehicle occupancy on anyone’s property—especially on our streets.

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