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Tue Jun 11, 2024, 09:18 AM Jun 11

Burlington Officials Outline Plan for Water, Portable Toilets at Encampments



Burlington Officials Outline Plan for Water, Portable Toilets at Encampments

By COURTNEY LAMDIN
Published June 11, 2024 at 1:31 a.m.

Burlington city officials are distributing water, dumpsters and portable toilets to three homeless encampments as part of Mayor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak’s plan to provide basic necessities to the city’s growing unhoused population.

Under the temporary plan, supplies will be brought to two camps near the waterfront and another near the Intervale in the Old North End, the mayor told city councilors at Monday night's meeting. Mulvaney-Stanak called it a "flexible" seasonal policy and did not specify how long the city support would continue. She did say the city will continue removing tents from city parks and public rights-of-way.

The city has long contended with encampments, but more have popped up in visible places this spring, prompting debate about how the city should regulate them. On Monday night, many councilors appeared to be on board with Mulvaney-Stanak's plan, at least cautiously. But they also had plenty of questions about how tolerant the city should be of camping where it's technically prohibited.

[...]

The city’s handling of homeless encampments has long been controversial. In 2017, a homeless man sued the city for allegedly trashing his campsite twice when other shelters were full. A settlement in 2019 created a policy that allows officials to remove encampments on city property if they’re a health or safety risk. Campers are given at least seven days to relocate, but the timeline can be condensed if officials determine that the encampment’s conditions constitute an emergency.

[...]

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