Chico, CA’s Path to a Tiny Home (Pallet Shelter) Village
From my experience sometimes doing something, even if it’s not the best thing, has the potential to bring about a good thing. From this non-lawyer’s perspective, the Chico city council began “solving” homelessness with a “stick” approach. Unfortunately, that approach apparently ran afoul of the constitution (according to Boise decision)…. The story unfolds with a lawsuit from some of Chico’s unhoused population to a settlement agreement in which 50 to 177 Pallet shelters will be provided. Which may be a good thing. We’ll see over time how the site is managed.
Two items from the settlement agreement (Document 153-1):
- “In entering into this Agreement, Defendants are not admitting any wrongdoing, liability or legal violations on their part and are not conceding the validity of any of Plaintiffs’ legal theories or claims”
- “The City shall pay Plaintiffs’ counsel a total of $650,000, comprising payment for Plaintiffs’ claims for attorneys’ fees and costs.” I could be way off base here but I’m guessing the City, the defendant, wouldn’t agree to pay Plaintiffs’ counsel this sum without being concerned they would lose at trial. I could be wrong….
From the Chico Enterprise-Record:
“With Chico’s non-congregate emergency housing site now accepting residents, let’s take a look back at a few of the actions that set the stage.
First, when the Chico Police Department informed campers at Comanche Creek Greenway in April 2021 they’d have 72 hours to vacate, some residents in Chico sighed in relief, having become fed up with the sight of homeless people in the parks. Other Chico residents saw it as a violation of human rights without adequate shelter space available within city limits.
What followed the 72-hour notice became a winding, strenuous, and delayed legal process with a lawsuit that, while largely settled, still has a few sticking points in terms of operating the shelter….” Read the story here and the settlement here.
To see the latest court documents on this case click here (some are available below).
Click on each item below to expand (most recent at the top):
Document 153 - January 14, 2021 - Settlement Agreement
The parties reached a settlement agreement that included: (1) “Part of the settlement consists of measures already in motion, such as the emergency Pallet shelter site at the former BMX Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, which was paid for by Butte County and will be maintained by the city of Chico. This site will offer ‘at least 50, but no more than 177’ Pallet shelters for the unhoused” ; and “The settlement also calls for the city to pay the eight plaintiffs a total of $12,000, or $1,500 apiece, and to cover attorney fees totaling $650,000 for Legal Services of Northern California and other co-representatives in the case” (see).
Document 57 - April 16, 2021 - Chico's Answer to the Complaint
This is the city’s response (answer) to the initial complaint from the individuals experiencing homelessness. 2021-04-16 Warren v. City of Chico – Document 57 – Answer to complaint, 2021-04-16 Warren v. City of Chico – Document 57-1 – Answer to complaint – Mark Orme – city manager, and 2021-04-16 Warren v. City of Chico – Document 57-2 – Answer to complaint – Paul Ratto.
Document 1 - April 8, 2021 - Complaint
This is the original complaint filed by eight homeless individuals in Chico. It’s 31 pages long but well worth reading to see what life was like after the fires and the dramatic increase in homelessness. 2021-04-08 Warren v. City of Chico – Document 1 – Complaint