Topeka’s Governing Body releases statement on Camping Ordinance

The City of Topeka’s Governing Body announced Tuesday night during the Topeka City Council Meeting that the city will be taking a phased approach to the implementation of the new restricted areas for camping as outlined in the amended ordinance set to take effect on November 17, 2023. This decision is due to several factors including timing and anticipated upcoming winter weather, resources, and the ongoing homeless initiative process that is well underway.

With this phased approach, the city will immediately begin stepping up its enforcement of existing areas where camping is not permitted. This includes areas where the city receives complaints including proximity to infrastructure (bridges, bus shelters, buildings, water towers, etc.) and in our business corridors like Downtown and NOTO.

When enforcing the existing no camping areas, the city will prioritize connecting those who are unsheltered with resources and partners who provide housing assistance and other services.

The Governing Body also wants to send a strong message to those who are unsheltered that camps must be maintained in a clean and safe manner. Additionally, structures are not permitted and will be addressed.

The Governing Body plans to evaluate the implementation of all pieces of the ordinance in early 2024.