San Diego city council members are weighing a proposal to ban homeless camps from public property amid years of frustration over the city’s growing homeless crisis.
The city council is set to discuss a proposal submitted by City Councilman Stephen Whitburn on Tuesday. FOX5 San Diego reported. The proposal would ban homeless people from camping on public property when shelter options are available. Camping in certain areas, such as public parks and near schools, will be banned regardless of availability of shelters.
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The plan has the support of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, who stressed the need for safe and “sanitary” sidewalks, parks and canyons in a series of press conferences ahead of the vote this week.
“They expect to be able to walk on unobstructed sidewalks, they expect to be able to safely get their children to school, and they want the parks to be sanitary, clean and safe,” Mayor Gloria said at a press conference. I look forward to being able to use it in some way,” he said. CBS8 reported on the meeting in Balboa Park on Friday.
“Like most parks, this park is not a homeless shelter. It’s not a place to live, it’s not a giant toilet, it’s not a dump,” Gloria added.
Tuesday’s hearing comes on the heels of the San Diego Community Task Force on Homelessness finding that the number of unprotected homeless people in the city of San Diego has increased 32%, with about 3,300 people living outdoors. the LA Times reported. Another tally by the Downtown San Diego Partnership reported 2,100 people living on the sidewalks and in cars in the downtown area alone, a record high for that part of the city.
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As of 2023, 87% of the city’s 3,000 emergency beds are occupied.
According to CBS8, Gloria said the shelter strategy will include a safe sleep program that will provide more than 500 tents at two locations near Balboa Park and elsewhere in the city.
“This is the city’s long-term commitment to providing resources to provide better places than sidewalks for vulnerable and sick people,” Gloria said. “Our hope is that when those resources become available, they will take advantage of them.”
Gloria was quoted as saying that the proposal to ban camps would not make them disappear immediately, and that the scope of their application would vary from region to region. In many areas, homeless people will still be allowed on the sidewalks from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. as part of a settlement filed several years ago, the LA Times stressed.
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Homeless advocates have called the ban “ruthless” and ineffective, while questioning how shelters will be able to cope with the expected surge with limited resources.
Proponents of the plan said their strategy was thoughtfully drafted, as it would provide people in need with access to shelter and resources, and protect them from the dangers associated with living on the streets. claims to be.
San Diego joins several other U.S. cities hoping to stem the homeless crisis gripping the city. last week, portland city council Voted to pass an ordinance banning daytime camping in most public places. A 3-to-1 vote changed the city’s regulations to stipulate that people can camp in the exclusion zone from 8:00 p.m. rice field.
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The ordinance also banned all camping near places such as schools, parks and busy streets.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.