Community advocacy can create city changes


Chico City Council seems to have a change of heart about the homeless population in its most recent decision to build 24-hour restrooms downtown.

The decision comes after the expansion of an ordinance that allows officers to give misdemeanors to homeless people downtown which was argued to target transients rather than provide them resources and help.

The 24-hour restrooms are in very early stages of development and citizens in favor of the restrooms shouldn’t stop advocating and declare victory just yet.

The council didn’t publicize a budget, location or a maintenance plan for this idea which seem to be very important factors. It’s no secret that the city is having budget issues.

If these restrooms are being proposed downtown, the Downtown Business Association would likely have reservations about them.

Yes, the bathrooms would prevent defecation inside and outside of stores, but the location of these bathrooms, how much they are being cleaned,    and the number of transients hanging out by them at any given time could limit customer traffic if the restrooms are near certain businesses.

The same people who have been speaking up against the injustices of the sit-lie ordinance need to follow through with the council and continue to urge it to cover all the bases of potential setbacks to get this great resource for the homeless community.

These potential 24-hour bathrooms could be beneficial for everyone and a great step toward focusing more energy on helping the homeless community rather than trying to eliminate them.

These bathrooms also open a door for some other great ways to help the homeless population including vending machines, a bulletin board filled with flyers endorsing community resources for homeless people, and maybe even a pay phone that can link transients to these resources.

It takes diligent community members to make change possible. It is a major relief to see that a city council actively works to try and improve the city rather than digging their heels into defecated and garbage-filled streets.