TOPEKA (KSNT) – In less than three weeks, a new camping ordinance will go into effect in Topeka.
The ordinance is the City of Topeka’s effort to address the city’s homeless population, specifically, homeless camping. The ordinance goes into effect on Nov. 17, according to the city, but there is still uncertainty on exactly what it will look like.
It outlines where homeless individuals can’t go, but not where they can go after it passes.
“There are a lot of suggestions, put them here, put them there,” Topeka Mayor Michael Padilla said. “But you’ve got to ask them. Do they want to be here? Do they want to be there? Does the rest of the community who has to have that population moved, want them there?”
Padilla said in a press conference Tuesday that the city does not yet know where its going to move homeless individuals, he just wants them to have access to somewhere safe and warm.
The city’s efforts are about connecting with the homeless, according to Interim City Manager Richard Nienstedt. He said the city wants to find the right way to help homeless individuals, as not all solutions are applicable to everyone.
“There’s a number of success stories of our agencies being able to work with people who don’t want to be homeless, and we get them into housing,” Nienstedt said. “We don’t have enough housing to do it, we don’t have enough money to do it, but there is a segment of the homeless that we’re working with.”
The city is currently working on an implementation plan, Nienstedt said, but the specifics of that plan have yet to be revealed. Padilla added this a step-by-step process that’s not going to happen overnight.