Thu September 12, 2013
Compromise for the homeless courthouse campout
The Hamilton County Sheriff is rolling out a three phase approach to combating what has been a continuing problem at county buildings, and especially the courthouse, dozens of homeless people sleeping and defecating on the property.
Phase I is is a "soft" approach where deputies and social workers identify the needs and determine whether people need help in the areas of addiction, mental health, and economic hardship. This will last a month and during that time the homeless can continue to camp out. Sheriff Neil says additional bathrooms will be identified, including Port-o-lets, and one in the Justice Center.
Phase II requires deputies to get a little tougher and remove them from the property, while still seeking help for the homeless. Two deputies will regularly patrol the area from 7pm until 6am.. Sheriff Neil says "arrest is the last resort."
Phase III will begin a clean-up of the buildings which have been damaged.
The Sheriff's Department estimates between 50 and 60 people are camping out on county property each night. The county is in the process of hiring another neighborhood liaison officer.