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Camping on sidewalks and city parks now illegal in Pueblo, targeting homeless concerns

Human waste, needles and trash pose health risks and concerns
Posted at 5:27 PM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-19 20:50:48-05

PUEBLO — Pueblo city council passed a new municipal law that aims to keep sidewalks and city parks clean. People who camp on public property within the city can be fined up to $1,000.

"I think it's wrong, I think public property you should have the right to," said Robert Elliott who has been homeless for a few months.

City officials say there have been problems at homeless camps with human waste, needles, and trash.

"Having an encampment, you're in your own little area, there are no outhouses okay, so they have to defecate in the area where they live," said Robert Griffin.

Griffin was living on Pueblo streets for about six years.

"How are they going to pay for [the fine], they're not going to be able to pay for it," said Griffin.

Griffin said he believes this new municipal law will only make the homeless problem worse. Instead, he suggested offering mental health or drug addiction help.

"Maybe my son will stop camping in a tent somewhere along the river and get the help he needs," said Griffin.

As more people get forced out of their camps, Elliott said he worried the Pueblo Rescue Mission will become too full.

"I've seen them have to turn down people already on the cold night because they were at max capacity so I think it's foolish," said Elliott.

Pueblo Police said they're still coming up with a plan on how to enforce this new rule. Officials said the department has a team of officers who go to these homeless camps and offer resources every day.

City leaders and the Pueblo Rescue Mission will be meeting Tuesday night to go over how this new municipal law will work.

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