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Yuba County passes ordinance making camping along levee illegal during the day

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YUBA COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) -- Yuba County recently passed a camping ordinance making it illegal for people to set up tents or other living quarters along the levees of the Feather River and other locations during daylight hours.

The ordinance has been considered by some to be in contrast to a federal ruling saying people cannot be penalized for sleeping outside.

The executive director of Hands of Hope, Rick Millhollin, said the ordinance is not about homelessness but that it’s an innovative way to focus on conditions for which any resident in the community could be cited.

“I’ve lived it. I know the steps back and I care about these people. I want to see them succeed,” Millhollin said.

Millhollin used to be homeless until around 16 years ago. Now, he’s at Hands of Hope, a homeless resource center in Yuba and Sutter counties.

Yuba County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Leahy said setting up a tent is permitted if it’s done between sunset and sunrise. Leaving the tent up or other items during the day is not allowed.

“It’s really for safety for them and for our law enforcement and for anybody who's stuck inside the levees if the levees should deteriorate,” Leahy said.

Millhollin said there will be an increased outreach effort trying to bring campers into Hands of Hope but he knows it won’t all be seamless.

“We have had some great success in the last few years since we started the coordinated entry programs here and at our Yuba City site. We have had thousands come through our door,” Millhollin said.

Meanwhile, Leahy said he believes other jurisdictions, like Sutter County, will do the same.

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