The Citizens' Advisory Committee on Homelessness said it expects to vote tonight on whether there should be homeless campgrounds in Merced.
The committee also is expected to vote on whether registered sex offenders (290s) should be allowed to live in a camp.
The meeting is open to the public and will be held at 6 p.m. at Petersen Elementary School, 848 E. Donna Drive, in Merced. The agenda is posted on the city's Web site, cityofmerced.org, under the Public Information listing.
The committee was created by the Merced City Council to investigate the issue of homeless camping in the city. A large encampment on Black Rascal Creek and Santa Fe Drive has more than 45 people living there, with about half being registered sex offenders. Other encampments are located behind the Auto Center and along Bear Creek, the city said in a news release.
The city's two homeless shelters still have beds available.
Two other issues will be discussed Wednesday: What funds should be used to pay for a campground, and what role should the city play and what role should other organizations have in operating and providing services at a campground.
The council gave the committee eight questions about homeless campgrounds to discuss. In addition to the four on the agenda for Wednesday, the committee will make recommendations on:
What criteria will be used to locate a campground to assure access to services and avoid neighborhood conflicts?
How long should people be allowed to camp there?
Is it a temporary or permanent campground?
What kind of facilities should be offered and should they be ADA accessible?
The committee is scheduled to deliver its final report to the City Council on April 5. All the meetings are open to the public, and time is allotted for comments from the public.
-- Sun-Star staff