Public spaces should be available to all community members, but unsanctioned camping excludes some members of the community from enjoying these public spaces.
Recent increases in unsanctioned camping have led to serious health and safety risks, for those staying within campsites and the broader community. Campsite residents may be at risk of serious health issues or loss of life due to uncertain weather, public health risks (disease, contamination of living spaces) as well as being victims of crime, as campsites often attract more serious crimes such as drug distribution.
At the same time, camping creates several community issues. Campsites can increase wildfire risks and can negatively impact and endanger wetlands or other sensitive and ecologically important natural areas. Community members, visitors, and city staff often feel threatened by the behavior they encounter in misused public spaces and can encounter biohazards in areas such as the Boulder Creek Path or in parks or Open Space.
Guided by compassion and a people-focused approach, the work of the SAMPS team reflects a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach that leverages expertise of community partners to manage the city’s public spaces. To accomplish this, and directed by a multi-departmental Executive Team, the SAMPS effort is driven through various coordinated workgroups.