Update – Requesting the Pensacola City Council Repeal the “Blanket Ban”

Update to article: Freezing Temperatures: Requesting Pensacola City Council Repeal the “Blanket Ban”

Councilwoman Sherri Myers proposed an ordinance in January (see pages 209 to 211) that would amend the controversial “camping” ordinance to allow for cover, including blankets, sleeping bags and bedding materials. The measure was blocked by Jewel Cannada-Wynn, the Council President. January 23, 2014 Nathan Monk, Alistair McKenzie, Mike Kimberl, and Jeremy Bosso spoke to Pensacola City Council asking them to review and repeal sections of the controversial “camping” ordinance, particularly those sections that make it a “crime” to keep warm with a blanket-posing a tremendous health and safety risk to the homeless (read more). In the meantime, temperatures have reached the teens and twenties, and a “state of emergency” was even declared due to severe cold weather, sleet, snow, and icey roads on January 28-30, 2014.

Last week, Mayor Ashton Hayward issued a statement saying, “after reflecting and praying on this issue,” he now supports the idea of amending the “camping” ordinance.

Note: The following Council members supported the controversial homeless ordinance(s): P.C. Wu, Andy Terhaar, Larry B. Johnson, Brian Spencer, Jewel Cannada-Wynn, Megan B. Pratt voted in favor of ordinances, whereas council members Sherri F. Myers, Charles Bare, Gerald Wingate opposed the ordinances.

Hayward says he has been “working with” Councilman Larry B Johnson “to establish an advisory committee on improving human services…tasked with collecting data and producing a set of fiscally-responsible, realistic, and actionable recommendations.” Councilman Larry Johnson voted for the controversial series of ordinances, including the “camping” ordinance that includes the “blanket ban.” The establishment of an advisory committee was promised last year.

The proposed ordinance to end the blanket ban will be brought to a vote at the February 13, 2014 Council meeting at Pensacola City Hall, which starts at 5:30pm.