South Burlington City Councilors weigh homeless policy

Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 9:03 PM EST
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - South Burlington City Councilors are looking to adopt a new policy surrounding homeless encampments.

The policy encourages non-involvement by police at these sites, unless they’re considered unsafe. It was brought to councilors by the Police Chief Shawn Burke and City Attorney Colin McNeil. The goal of the policy is to create a consistent and progressive approach to removing encampments when necessary.

“It does outline a policy statement which views those campsites through the lens of not criminalizing people for creating due to lack of housing, so the policy is specific this is not criminal activity,” McNeil told councilors.

For encampments deemed unsafe, those living there will be given a 24 hours notice to leave. Most items picked up from those will be held for one week or until someone comes to pick it up. Cleanup notices will also be accompanied by emergency shelter resources.