Fresno Madera Continuum of Care Board Members approve letter stating city of Fresno's "sit, lie, sleep" ordinance criminalizes homelessness and jeopardizes federal funding. Credit: Fresno Madera Continuum of Care

July 13, 2023 — Fresno Continuum of Care

Documented by Andy Hansen-Smith

What happened: At the July 13 Fresno Madera Continuum of Care (FMCoC) meeting, the board approved a letter in response to the Fresno City Council’s vote last month to amend an ordinance that limits where individuals experiencing homelessness can camp and prohibits them from blocking city sidewalks within 500 feet of certain public facilities, such as schools, libraries, and city-permitted shelters.

The letter states that the ordinance criminalizes homelessness and potentially jeopardizes the FMCoC’s funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for permanent housing and supportive services for the homeless. 

According to the letter, the FMCoC receives approximately $11.7 million annually from HUD, which requires that CoCs “implement specific strategies to prevent the criminalization of homelessness within the CoC’s geographic area” and “work with law enforcement and their state and local governments to eliminate policies and practices that criminalize homelessness.”

The letter was approved with 21 ayes and nine abstentions. The nine abstentions were cast by the Behavioral Health Departments of both Fresno and Madera counties, the cities of Fresno and Madera, the Madera Department of Social Services, the Madera Housing Authority, and other similar entities. 

And also: In the “next few weeks,” a second mobile shower will be available for use in Fresno at Hedges and Blackstone avenues.

City of Fresno Homeless Services Manager Joe Pasillas said the existing mobile shower has been used 2,694 times in 2023.

Up next: The Fresno Madera Continuum of Care Board is scheduled to meet again on Aug. 10 at 8:30 a.m. All meetings are accessible to the public via Zoom.

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The Fresno Documenters are a group of local residents who are trained and paid to attend and take notes at local public meetings where officials decide how to spend public money and make important decisions...