Tell Fort Collins to Let the People Sit!

Fort Collins City Council is considering a proposal to restrict sitting or lying down on sidewalks, curbs, or other such places not designated for sitting. We must stop this nonsense and maintain our right to sit and rest in Fort Collins! All people need to sit and banning this necessary and non-harmful act is a violation of human and constitutional rights, ineffective, expensive, and follows in a mean-spirited history of Jim Crow laws and the like used to push certain “unwanted” groups of people out of public space.
The Fort Collins Homeless Coalition is working hard to stop this Sit/Lie Ban from passing. We are proud to be working with them from across Colorado to tell the Fort Collins city council to let people sit. We in Denver know the harm of banning sitting/lying. Colorado Springs also is facing a possible sit/lie ban as the mayor came out calling for for this. As we work as part of WRAP to pass a Right to Rest for the whole state of Colorado (and beyond) we must stop this further harm from happening.

There will be a Community Input Session to address “disruptive behavior downtown” (such as the disruptive behavior of sitting!) this ThursdayAugust 13th 7-8pm at Aztlan Community Center, 112 Willow St

The Sit/Lie ordinance and “disruptive behavior plan” will first be discussed in City Council work session on Tuesday August 25th 6pm at City Hall West, 300 LaPorte Ave, Fort Collins, CO.

If you live in Fort Collins please show up!
Please email Fort Collins City Council members and ask them to vote no on any restriction of sitting/lying down. You can email the whole council at cityleaders@fcgov.com or find there individual emails at www.fcgov.com/council. Here is a sample letter to council
 
Also, please feel out this survey, created by the city, and tell them what “behaviors” you would like to see in Fort Collins when you visit  http://www.fcgov.com/news/index.php?id=5998
Below is the Fort Collins Homeless Coalition press release.
Onward toward the Right to Rest…

Fort Collins Homeless Coalition Responds to the City’s Actions Regarding Homelessness and “Disruptive Behaviors”

Fort Collins–The Fort Collins Homeless Coalition (FCHC), an origination made up mostly of community members who are homeless, learned of the intention of City’s Leadership Team to pass an ordinance that would prohibit people from sitting or lying down for a specific period of time in public places. Similar ordinances have been passed in other cities and have been proven both to be ineffective and to do nothing more than target homeless people.  The City is hosting a community forum on August 13th and the ordinance would go through first reading on the regular  City Council meeting on August 18th.

The City’s Office of Social Sustainability has been working on a Homelessness Action Plan that will be discussed at City Council’s August 25th work session. The plan is the product of much hard work by Beth Sowder, the Director of Social Sustainability. Beth has done an excellent job outreaching to FCHC to build meaningful relationships. It is FCHC’s position that the City should not take action prior to fully discussing the plan, because such action would be damaging not only to the homeless community but to all of Fort Collins.

Sitting and sleeping is a human need. Further criminalizing people who are carrying out those needs is inhumane. In the wake of last week’s Statement of Interest filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which stated that ” …punishing conduct that is a universal and unavoidable consequence of being human violates the Eighth Amendment,” Fort Collins should not work recklessly to target homeless people.

The City’s stated goal of making homelessness “rare, short-lived, and nonrecurring” will not be met by implementing laws that force homeless community members further into the shadows.

Introducing any ordinance on August 18th would usurp the City’s own process, by acting prior to fully examining the Homelessness Action Plan . The on-line survey that the city has implemented is extremely biased and will not produce any meaningful information.

The City sent a delegation of community leaders Burlington, VT this past weekend to learn about their successful street outreach program.

Any information gleaned from the August 13th forum as well as the VT trip should be a part of the discussion at the August 25th work session, and any action should be taken by Council should take place after that work session and should always be based on data-driven, evidence based practices.

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