SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) The City of Santa Cruz said two groups have obtained a restraining order to prevent the city from closing San Lorenzo Park, and it has been extended twice.
City Manager Martin Bernal said he decided to use a phased approach to close the park due in mid-December. He said there were concerns about fires, lack of social distancing and mask wearing, concerns about crime in the area, reports of trespassing and damage to the park.
The park is home to a homeless encampment, and a lawsuit filed cited the Supreme Court ruling Martin v. Boise, and the plaintiffs argued that the city had not provided a place for the homeless people to got, so they should not clear the camp.
To prevent the closure, the Santa Cruz Homeless Union and Food Not Bombs sought a temporary restraining order to prevent the temporary closure, and they were able to get one. Bernal said it has since been extended twice and is in effect through Jan. 20.
"This is a challenging situation for all of us. Unfortunately, from the City’s perspective, there is no easy solution to this problem. The vast majority of the funds to address homelessness fall to the County, and then those funds are allocated for services through the countywide Homeless Action Partnership. The lack of available funding makes it very challenging to serve the significant numbers of homeless individuals in our community," Bernal wrote in a statement.
Bernal said the City needs federal and state reforms in order to address the issue appropriately