OKLAHOMA CITY – Concerned about unsanitary and unsafe conditions of homeless camps in Oklahoma cities, Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, has filed Senate Bill 1381 which would direct municipalities to require homeless camps to be properly permitted, just as other campgrounds are required to be.
Standridge said he filed the legislation after citizens in his district contacted him about problems they’d encountered as a result of homeless camps, particularly in the city of Norman.
“While the city would not let someone construct a home or business without following all the proper codes and requirements, especially those dealing with sanitation, the city of Norman has allowed countless homeless camps to pop up all over the city with total disregard to drainage and proper treatment of raw sewage and other waste,” Standridge said. “These camps should be required to be properly permitted like any campground would be to ensure the safety of those in the camp and in neighboring homes and buildings with regards to drinking water, sewage and other waste.”
Under SB 1381, municipalities would have 30 days to conduct inspections of homeless camps within their jurisdiction. Those camps must adhere to building codes established by the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission. Municipalities failing to inspect the homeless camps by the deadline would be liable for any harm caused within and outside of the immediate boundaries of that homeless camp. If the camp doesn’t comply with building codes in the 30-day period, the municipality would be required to abolish it.
“First and foremost, this is a public health and safety issue, but there could be economic implications for a community if their municipality fails to address these concerns. I’m sure very few businesses would want to develop property that could be impacted by sewage and other waste and safety issues from one of these camps,” Standridge said. “My legislation is about ensuring accountability within those camps and by our municipalities to protect our citizens.”
For more information, contact: Sen. Rob Standridge at 405-521-5535 or email Rob.Standridge@oksenate.gov.