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The Indianapolis City-County Council’s Rules and Public Policy Committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to change the “Homeless Bill of Rights”  to address homeless camps and charitable donations such as food and clothing.

Under the proposal, the office of public health and safety (OPHS) may temporarily or permanently close any public property or public right of way to camps.

OPHS may require any residents currently camping in the area to cease camping in the area and remove any stored personal property from the area, but only if sufficient temporary housing or shelter space is available for residents who will be displaced by the closure

Under Proposal 76, the city may keep an area in which camps have been removed permanently closed to camps. And permanent closures may be made only in areas “with high levels of pedestrian traffic or areas that have required repeated clean-ups or interventions by law enforcement.”

OPHS must also study the feasibility and cost of establishing one or more indoor or outdoor safe camping sites.

In addition, “neither camping nor storing personal property is permitted in a manner that wholly or partially obstructs pedestrian traffic on any sidewalk, street, or other public right of way.”

The proposal also calls on OPHS to work with homeless organizations to designate charitable distribution sites for food or other items on or before July 1.  The city

The measure now goes to the full Council for approval.

Photo:  Abdul