Longmont City Council will receive an update on efforts to meet the needs of homeless people in Lanyon Park

A report from city staff said that after a Neighborhood Impact Team was established late last year to address the needs of homeless people in Lanyon Park, neighbors who live in the region are seeing improvements, although the team continues to face some challenges.

A presentation, which is included in the agenda for the Longmont City Council meeting this week, will be shared with council members during the regular Tuesday evening session at 7 p.m.

The presentation points out that neighbors “feel safer to use the park” after the implementation of several initiatives. Yet there are barriers that prevent homeless people from getting the services they need, the presentation says.

Early last year, residents began reporting disruptive behavior in the park by a group of homeless people, according to council communications. Neighbors told city staff and council members that the park shelters were monopolized; that the group used illegal substances and engaged in other inappropriate behavior; park facilities were vandalized; and campsites were set up in parks and on other public or private property. As a result, some residents told city staff that they did not feel safe in their neighborhood or comfortable using the park.

In response to concerns, Longmont began efforts to organize a neighborhood impact team. The team is co-led by Carmen Ramirez, Neighborhood and Community Resource Manager and Sara Aerne, Longmont Senior Police Officer. Non-profit groups Homeless Outreach Providement Encouragement and Longmont Targeted Homeless Engagement and Referral Effort are among the community partners working with the team.

Council communications said the team’s goal is to “ensure that public spaces in identified neighborhoods are used as intended and are welcoming and safe for all residents and visitors”, while connecting people homeless with resources and services to lead to stable housing.

Longmont decreed a temporary curfew in December to limit Lanyon Park’s hours of operation from sunrise to sunset. New lights were added to the park shelter and signs were posted to alert people to the new curfew.

The slideshow presentation highlighted that neighbors said they liked the curfew, and that led to a reduction in camping. Neighbors also shared that they felt safer using the park, appreciated the extra patrols, and were “impressed” with the transformation.

But the presentation also highlighted some of the challenges the Neighborhood Impact Team continues to face, including the need to overcome the barriers homeless people face in access services, ensuring a commitment ongoing with residents and partners; and a growing tendency to illegally possess retail shopping carts.

Also available for Tuesday’s meeting

Members of Longmont City Council will discuss an ordinance to create an Advanced Metering Infrastructure Project Deactivation Program. This would allow people who do not want a wireless meter to have the option of having their meter read manually for an additional $15. The city is expected to begin installing its new smart meters in the spring.

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