- Associated Press - Saturday, April 15, 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A new ordinance taking effect in Juneau will allow police to issue citations to people who have set up camp on private downtown property.

Starting Saturday, those caught camping in the area between midnight and 7 a.m. could be cited. The new law comes after the Juneau Assembly voted to amend the city’s existing policy against camping in urban areas in February, The Juneau Empire reported (https://bit.ly/2oe9dWh).

The ban on camping on private property has sparked concerns about where homeless people will sleep at night.

A new campground opening Saturday is being considered as an option for people displaced by the camping ordinance, Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove said.

The campsite, about 1.5 miles from downtown Juneau, charges a $5 fee per night but Cosgrove said campers can get a partial refund if they comply with camp rules and clean up before leaving. Discounted rates of $25 a week or $100 a month are also available.

“We do charge a fee, but we are looking at options to offset that fee,” Cosgrove aid. “The details have not been ironed out yet, but we will not turn people away for lack of funds.”

The Juneau Police Department has been working to ensure residents are aware of the new law ahead of its implementation.

“We have been preparing for April 15, we have been contacting people and giving them warnings,” said Lt. David Campbell. “We have had four separate outreach operations prior to the ordinance going into effect . with downtown officers and service providers, contacting people to try to get them into services.”

Officers assigned to the downtown area will conduct their regular patrols and be on the lookout for people camping in the doorways of businesses and on other private property.

“We will treat this like any other violation - it’s an infraction,” Campbell said. “If a person refuses to leave, they will be cited.”


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

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