Livermore's Urban Camping Ordinance Explained

City officials say the law will not cut services to the homeless population and a summit to discuss the issues of homelessness will be scheduled for the spring.

Patch photo archive
Patch photo archive

The City of Livermore adopted an ordinance banning camping on public property and private property with a public easement without a permit during the Feb. 10 council meeting, a city official said.

"The ordinance provides the City with the tools to address the effects of camping in areas not intended for this purpose, including safety hazards and impacts on public health," Shannon O'Hare, a Communications Consultant with the City of Livermore said. "The ordinance does not make homelessness illegal or cut existing services to Livermore's homeless population."

O'Hare says, the ordinance will be effective March 12. 

According to city documents, the new law would "clarify that overnight camping on public properties and private property where there is public access, is unlawful without possession of a permit which authorizes the use of the facility."

"At the direction of the City Council, the City will not issue citations until after the City holds a homelessness summit that will take place this spring," O'Hare said. "At the February 24th City Council meeting, Mayor Marchand said he did not anticipate the City using the ordinance frequently, and that the ordinance was for the most egregious, repetitive, and flagrant offenders. He said the ordinance provides the City with the authority to clean up large encampments that represent a public health and safety hazard."

Similar camping ordinances are already in place in all of the other cities in the Tri-Valley including Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon and Danville and Livermore Area and Recreation and Parks District.

During the Feb. 24 council meeting, O'Hare says Livermore Mayor John Marchand confirmed there would be a regional homelessness summit, which will be announced at a later date.

After the summit, fines may be collected when citations are issued for violations. The first violation would incur a $100 fine, while subsequent violations or multiple violations may cost as much as $300 and time in jail.

Mayor John Marchand told Patch:

The purpose of the ordinance is to give the City the authority to clean up camps that are generating complaints. If complaints are received, the area will the posted and the campers will have up to 72 hours to clear the camp.  If the camp is removed, no citation will be written. Even if property is removed, it will be held by the City and the owner can retrieve it without penalty.  With the City's implementation plan, complaints must be received before there is any enforcement.

Everyone agrees that camping in the arroyos is unsafe and is a public health and safety hazard. The park district (LARPD) has an even more stringent prohibition on camping in parks.   

Of all of the comments I have heard, no one has offered any solutions. Homelessness is a regional problem and Livermore does not have the resources to solve it. The summit that I have proposed will, for the first time, bring together regional and national resources, such as the County and the federal Veterans Administration. The community has been effective at sustaining the homeless for years but we need to explore more resources if we are going to lift people out of homelessness. The date for the summit has not been set but is targeted for mid-April. Information will be posted to the City's website and volunteers who are interested in helping can call the City at 925-960-4020

Homeless resources in Livermore can be found through several non-profit organizations such as Tri-Valley Haven, Shepard's Gate, Abode Services and the Open Hear Kitchen.

Click here for list of information about the camping ordinance in Livermore.

Tom Ness February 26, 2014 at 09:20 PM
Its hard to help those that don't want to help themselves. Why use my tax dollars to care for them. Yes there are some that are down on their luck and could use a hand to get on their feet. But the majority of Livermore homeless begs for money to get booze and then don't do crap the rest of the day. Mental illness is tough, but putting them all in a place is not going to work well either. I say drive them over the altamont and drop them in tracy
TrueRealist February 26, 2014 at 10:24 PM
@mom2boys why don't you invite one into your home and give them a place to stay? Do you volunteer at a homeless shelter? How much of your income do you give towards helping the homeless? You see, it's really easy to give away someone else's money to fix other peoples problems isn't it?
♫♪ The Cat is back in Town ♪♫ February 26, 2014 at 10:43 PM
If the homeless would like help, great. Lets have them all stand in a line and we will throw canned food at them. That way we get the feeling of doing goodwill and they will learn to go else where for food.
♫♪ The Cat is back in Town ♪♫ February 26, 2014 at 10:43 PM
You don't just help all the stray dogs you see running around do you?? NO, that because Animal Control will euthanize them.. Not to sound mean but maybe we should look it to this as a solution to our homeless problem.
David February 27, 2014 at 01:16 AM
Mom2boys you are just an idiot and don't get it....I know you mean well but no hope for you. The cat ......you should watch Purge I think you would like it. To bad its a movie but.... OK lets at the very least come up with some work/ Chores that the homeless can do to earn their way ... And yes the other towns shipping their problems to gullible Livermore is getting old and not only SF but our neighbors in Pleasanton too. Would rant more but I have to get up early for work !!!!!
Terry February 27, 2014 at 09:53 AM
the 45 yr old homeless person I tried to help by setting up a hotel stay for one week refused. she gave me her sisters phone number. I talked to her sister. Learned she is unstable and keeps walking out of her bedroom at her sisters home and prefers to live on the street. Meds and counseling didn't help. Family interventions work for only a few days. Never married. No kids.
Sandy February 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM
It's a fact.....Pleasanton drops the homeless folks off in Livermore after they've spent a night in jail... Usually for a drunk and disorderly charge. Which a lot continue to accumulate. My kids are terrified of the homeless guys that hang out downtown. The old couple that abuses their poor dog is seen having sex behind the Ale house area AND then relieving themselves for all to see. It's those people that have to go. The ones that need help....I agree with one comment here....the Veterans Hospital has tons of open space. Use it! But something needs to be done. I see only homeless drunks.
Becky February 27, 2014 at 10:30 AM
Could Livermore set up a parking lot with a bathroom for homeless people with cars to stay at?
RU11550 February 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Do we seriously want to have that blight in our city? Do you know how many more will come if you build it? There is a reason why SF and other places smell like piss and look like crap.
Terry February 27, 2014 at 01:22 PM
British empire sent homeless and debtors to Australia to start a new life. Too many men so later they emptied Brothels and sent the women. Homeless and mentally ill people have wandered streets since cities were first formed in agriculture societies. No answer then. None now. Neither sanitariums, prisons or cannibalism has worked. Get over it.
Tired of It February 27, 2014 at 01:28 PM
This is the response I received from the Human Services Manager in 2009 when I asked what the City of Livermore was doing about the ever growing homeless population: The City is aware that a number of persons and families are living on the streets throughout Livermore . Staff of Community Development and the Police Department have recently convened a committee that is tasked to work with our non-profit and faith community to review a variety of programs that have been implemented in other communities to deal with this issue and determine which ones would work best within Livermore . In the meantime, the Tri-Valley Haven has increased outreach to our homeless and a new drop in center has recently opened at Vineyard Community Church on North Livermore Avenue . This center, which provides links to critical services to help our most vulnerable, has been steadily attracting more clients. We appreciate your patience and support as we work to resolve this critical issue in our community. Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions or concerns. Regards, Jean Prasher Human Services Program Manager Housing and Human Services Division Community Development Department City of Livermore (925) 960-4586
JJP February 27, 2014 at 02:56 PM
A local homeless person blogs often about all the great services Livermore provides for homeless folks. So with meals and housing provided by the nice people here in Livermore, the city now asks in return that they don't sleep and defecate on our streets and in our parks and creek beds. Fair? see "HOMELESS FOR STUPID PEOPLE" blog
Joe Fox February 27, 2014 at 11:36 PM
Passing an anti-camping ordinance to combat the problem of homelessness is Leadership at its worst. There are no homeless shelters in Livermore that allow single homeless men. There is only the homeless refuge that opens during inclement weather. Where can a homeless single male sleep in Livermore without violating this new camping ordinance? Where can any homeless person sleep in Livermore when the homeless shelters have exceeded capacity without violating this new camping ordinance? There are other cities whose Leaders have stepped up to the plate and did the hard work to build affordable low cost housing and more homeless shelters. The City of Alameda is one of them. Mayor Marchand and this Council should repeal this ordinance, roll up their sleeves and start doing the work required of Leaders!
Conner February 28, 2014 at 01:26 AM
Becky, yes the ordinance does allow the homeless who have cars to camp in their vehicles in the parking garage on Railroad ave behind the Bankhead theatre. I don`t know about any bathrooms being set up. But, it`s a good idea.
blackoutmetal666 February 28, 2014 at 01:34 AM
Livermore is stupid. Glad I don't live there anymore. So where are homeless gonna sleep. Seriously if I saw some if you downtown and knew who you were I would mug you. You are all selfish greedy bastards that need to die already. Most of the veterans are homeless who have PTSD and most of you livermorians are worthless to this country and had your families give you everything.
Christian Holm February 28, 2014 at 02:17 AM
One thing nobody seems to get is this: there is no "solution" to homelessness. Once people get over the notion that there is one, then we can actually start dealing with the issue in an intelligent manner. But everyone, from the Mayor on down are talking about "Solutions." San Francisco has spent how much local, state and federal funds on it and, to what end? They house homeless in squalid, dangerous and dangerously unhealthy conditions that the homeless themselves, because behaviours, contribute to. This law punishes those who are trying to be good neighbours. It is not targetted against those who are the primary offenders. It makes those who are trying to deal honestly and without being a problem into criminals on the same level as those who abuse everything around them. That's fine. Turning honest people into criminals encourages criminal behaviour. The city should not be surprised if things get worse as a result. I certainly will not be.
RU11550 February 28, 2014 at 03:43 PM
It's like a feral cat colony. If you feed them they only continue to multiply and get out of hand.
♫♪ The Cat is back in Town ♪♫ February 28, 2014 at 05:53 PM
WOOOW! Lets not bring cats into this. Those little fluff balls do much more good then harm, unlike the homeless and that waste of skin, crack head Christian Holm. Like I said before, if the homeless want help we can start a homeless hunger games or just start euthanizing them.
Becky February 28, 2014 at 07:31 PM
YOU are the one who has gone feral, RU.
LL March 01, 2014 at 12:10 PM
I had to go to San Diego and was shocked by the smell on the streets. Then I realized how the city was over populated by homeless men. That's my last visit to a big city in calif. I don't think Livermore has a homeless problem just yet. As long as we can provide services when it is needed to those that need it, I think the street people will be more respectful. We need to find out what they need. I have heard that Livermore citizens are trying to do a good job. Homelessness affects everyone. Let's not give up. This is a tough issue.
Terry March 01, 2014 at 09:23 PM
Doctor Kevorkian we need u here for our homeless
blackoutmetal666 March 02, 2014 at 09:58 PM
How are you gonna fine homeless? Like they have the money to pay fines how moronic can this city get. They will don anything to get a little extra money to build more water wasting fountains.
RU11550 March 03, 2014 at 05:27 PM
I think it was more of an undercover way of funding the Bankhead Theatre. Lol
Christian Holm March 05, 2014 at 07:58 PM
I wonder how long it will take for Cat in the Hat to be found on some rooftop surrounded by bodies and carrying high powered rifle... he seems to be very keen on the idea of killing people...
Joe Fox March 10, 2014 at 03:26 AM
On February 28, 2014, a human being without housing died while sleeping outside in the bushes in the City Of Livermore. He was 41 years old. There are no do overs and what ifs. His life ended and he is no more. The Livermore anti-camping ordinance will drive the homeless further away from essential services and medical care for fear of being cited, arrested and/or personal property confiscated. Blankets and sleeping bags are now considered illegal paraphernalia. This means more human beings are likely to get hypothermia and die as a result in the City of Livermore.
♫♪ The Cat is back in Town ♪♫ March 10, 2014 at 08:59 PM
Christian Holm you are an idiot. Your writing sucks and I don't wonder why you're homeless. No one will miss you when you go and the world will be a better place without you. Go crawl back into your piss stained box and let us taxpayers talk for a moment.
♫♪ The Cat is back in Town ♪♫ March 10, 2014 at 09:02 PM
@ Joe Fox, it called the survivalist gene. The weak will die, that's just life. The world is over populated as it is, why should we waste resources on those that can't help themselves.
Christian Holm March 15, 2014 at 05:46 AM
Cat, I'm sure there will be poems and sonnets written of your great insights...
Autumn Johnson (Editor) April 11, 2014 at 08:43 PM
Mayor Announces Summit on Homelessness http://livermore.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/mayor-announces-summit-on-homelessness


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