Council passes Compassionate Sidewalks proposal

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The Berkeley City Council committed to establish a community process to address homelessness in the city.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council added amendments, such as compiling more details and data, to the Compassionate Sidewalks Plan — introduced by Councilmember Jesse Arreguin — and voted to further discuss the proposed plan in public workshop in April.

“We are letting the public know that we are committed to moving forward with the community process,” Arreguin said. “Most of the people here opposed Measure S, but they’re not saying let’s not do anything.”

The sit-lie measure, a controversial measure which would have prohibited sitting on sidewalks in commercial districts between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., was placed on the ballot last November and was defeated 52.5 percent to 47.7 percent.

The Compassionate Sidewalks Plan, involves establishing a committee to address the demographics and causes of homelessness and to analyze existing homeless programs and funding sources.

Although the council was supportive of the plan, they raised concerns regarding the specificity of the particular programs and homelessness demographics. Mayor Tom Bates also expressed concern about the funding and resources needed to obtain the information needed.

“I think we’re still challenged … and this is the next step,” said Councilmember Linda Maio.

Daphne Chen is the lead city government reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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