Goshen bans camping on city property
The city of Goshen won’t allow people who are homeless to camp on publicly owned property anymore.
The city’s common council Monday passed an ordinance that bans erecting camping equipment and using it to stay overnight on city-owned property. Camping already was illegal in city parks.
The ban covers alleys, streets and sidewalks. If city staff feel the camping poses a risk of harm to any person or the public, police can take the equipment immediately. If there is no such risk, people camping will be given 48 hours to leave the site.
Such anti-public camping ordinances have become more common around the nation as chronic homelessness has worsened. Federal courts have upheld the constitutionality of the ordinances, as long as a community has shelter available for the homeless.
Goshen does not have a shelter in the city. But city staff in the past have transported people who are camping in city parks because they’re homeless to the Faith Mission shelter in Elkhart, says Goshen City Attorney Bodie Stegelmann.
He says the Goshen ordinance is patterned after one in Boise, Idaho that federal courts have upheld.
“You can read that and see what they’ve said as far as the standard, and you can read our ordinance and then match it up against that,” Stegelmann said. “I think our ordinance matches the standard from that case.”