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The Carlisle Borough Council will host a public discussion on the issue of homelessness and sleeping and camping in public places at 5 p.m. Wednesday in borough hall, 53 W. South St.

In a news release announcing the meeting, the borough said the issue of people sleeping and camping in public spaces has been the center of discussion on social media and highlighted by The Sentinel.

A recent "Ask/Answered" feature in The Sentinel looked at Carlisle's regulations on sleeping in public and why people who do so do not take advantage of services offered by nonprofit organizations in town.

The meeting will help the council better understand the challenges and seek options to address sleeping and camping in public spaces such as benches, sidewalks and local parks. The borough does not have an ordinance or law prohibiting such actions.

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“It is really important that we as a society do not criminalize homelessness,” Carlisle Police Chief Taro Landis said. “In my opinion, we have to have a collaborative effort of citizens, mental health professionals, substance abuse professionals, and public officials to begin a very hard conversation.”

Several local homeless, housing and continuum of care program providers have been invited to participate in the public discussion and share their perspectives.

“Community members are also encouraged to attend and participate in the discussion as borough council and staff look forward to sharing perspectives and vetting the issues publicly,” Carlisle Borough Manager Susan Armstrong said.

The public discussion will be followed by the council’s regularly scheduled monthly workshop meeting at 6 p.m. Questions regarding this meeting may be directed to Armstrong at 717-240-6922 or sarmstrong@carlislepa.org.

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Email Tammie at tgitt@cumberlink.com. Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.

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