House Panel Discusses Bill Requiring All Cities to Adopt Homeless Encampment Policies

March 21, 2022

The bill, which the League opposes, was laid over for further discussion.

The House Preventing Homelessness Division discussed a bill on March 16 that would require all cities to develop a policy addressing homeless encampments.

HF 4225 (Rep. Aisha Gomez, DFL-Minneapolis), creates rigid requirements for cities and would change how cities address loitering and camping on public property. The bill, which does not yet have a Senate companion, was laid over for additional conversation at the division’s hearing on March 23.

Read a previous article for more details about the bill

The League appreciates the feedback from cities across the state that helped inform conversations with legislators and develop written testimony highlighting city concerns with the bill.

Several cities told the League about best practices in assisting unsheltered residents camping on public land and providing resources to address health and safety concerns.

City concerns

In addition to the general concerns with the requirement of mandating every city develop policies on homeless encampments, even if a city has never and may never have to address one, the League’s written testimony urged caution of an unfunded mandate and potential liability issues that the bill might cause for cities.

Metro Cities also submitted written testimony raising concerns with the bill and urged the legislature to support cities by assisting them with sharing best practices rather than a statewide mandate.

Other testimony

The division heard testimony on the bill from the Wilder Foundation on the scope of homelessness in Minnesota including a study conducted by the organization, which estimated there are over 19,000 people on any given night that experience homelessness in Minnesota.

Other written testimony in support of the bill came from Lutheran Social Services and Minneapolis residents.

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