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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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US police attempt to ban camping

February 03 2010
Pitching tents on public land set to disappear after parts of the country see a sharp increase in homelessness  Police in America are trying to ban homeless people from camping on public land after parts of the country have seen a sharp increase in homeless camps.

Police chiefs in Colorado Springs, the county town of Colorado state, want to clear the camps because of safety and sanitation concerns. According to one report, a man named Randy has lived in a small tent in one of the camps for more than a year. He said: "If the city makes camping illegal, I have no idea what I'll do. I don't know where I'll go." Local resident Marcia Whittaker added: "I think its okay for the camps to be there. Maybe the visibility will prompt people to try to help them."

If the law is passed by the city council, people found camping could be fined and may face prison. Chief of police Richard Myers presented the case at a meeting last month. He said: "We have life safety concerns. Camping in the sub-zero temperatures we're having is a public health risk. Recently, one of the tents caught fire while occupied."

The issue has yet to be decided but vice-mayor Larry Small said he could not support a ruling that would kick hundreds of homeless people off city land without giving them a place to go: "This is not a good time to consider that kind of ordinance. Life is pretty tough for people right now."

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