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The Daily Wildcat

62° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Fewer homeless around UA

    A recent census by local volunteers has shown that Tucson’s homeless population near the UA campus has decreased since 2008.

    Volunteers in association with the Tucson Planning Council for the Homeless counted 25 homeless people in the region that includes the UA campus on Jan. 28, which is down from 45 people in 2008, said Mary Pat Sullivan, co-chairwoman of the 2009 annual homeless count.

    Twenty-two homeless people were counted in the same area in 2007, she said.

    Over 150 volunteers were organized into groups, assigned specific areas of Tucson and counted the homeless from 5 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., she said.

    A total of 1,108 homeless people were counted in Tucson in 2008, up from 642 in 2006, according to the Tucson Planning Council for the Homeless’ website.

    “”If there are homeless people, (the volunteers) are going to be looking for them,”” Sullivan said.

    Working in a specific time frame eliminates the possibility of duplicating counts, she added.

    The area containing campus includes River Road to Speedway Boulevard from Stone Avenue to Campbell Avenue, and Speedway Boulevard to 22nd Street from Park Avenue to Campbell Avenue.

    Homeless people are just as welcome on the campus as students and faculty because the UA is a public area, said Sergeant Juan Alvarez, University of Arizona Police Department public information officer. He said all campus guests are expected to use the facilities appropriately.

    “”The campus is open to the public … Anyone is welcome here,”” Alvarez said. “”We enforce state laws and university policies. We respond to people’s complaints. But we have no specific policy towards homeless people in general.””

    Alvarez said complaints regarding homeless people are handled in the same manner as any other complaint and their course of action depends entirely on the situation.

    With multiple levels, shelves of books and chairs located in almost every corner, the UA Main Library is one of the most common places for the homeless to visit on campus.

    The library is public and open to everyone, be they homeless people or students, said Carla Stoffle, Dean of Libraries and the Center for Creative Photography.

    “”I think students are concerned about why are homeless people in the library, but this is a public building,”” Stoffle said. “”Unless they’re making a nuisance of themselves, there isn’t anything we can do.””

    But what about sleeping in the library?

    No one is permitted to sleep inside the library, no matter who they are, said Robyn Huff-Eibl, the library’s Access and Information Services team leader and night crew supervisor.

    “”If we find folks sleeping, we wake them up, and if they’re not students, we ask them to leave,”” Stoffle said.

    The Main Library is available to the public until 1 a.m. and open 24 hours a day to UA students and faculty. After 1 a.m., people must produce a CatCard and be active in the system in order to gain entry into the library, Huff-Eibl said.

    She said that library supervisors do periodic security walks through the library after 1 a.m., checking that students are complying with library policy. Most calls to UAPD are made for serious reasons, such as people with weapons, rather than people abusing the library’s no-sleeping policy, she said.

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