SAN DIEGO — The ordinance to ban homeless encampments in certain areas of San Diego that the city deems to be high risk of public health and safety is now moving on to the city council.
It passed Thursday after a more than four-hour discussion and over 100 public comments by a vote of 3-1.
The ordinance, proposed by councilman Stephen Whitburn to the Land Use and Housing Committee, would change the city code and ban tent encampments around the city considered to be high risk of public health and safety.
- Within two blocks of K-12 schools
- Within two blocks of a homeless shelter
- Along trolly tracks and transportation hubs
- Certain parks including Balboa Park, Mission Bay park
- Waterways including the San Diego river
District 1 Councilmember Joe LaCava issued a statement about the decision:
“The Citywide impacts of such a policy merits a Citywide discussion. The (support of the) motion is contingent upon the provision of operational and enforcement plans with budgets to confirm adequate shelter, comprehensive outreach, and best practices are in place prior to further consideration. Our homelessness response system must be fully functional and coordinated for the proposed encampment policy to successfully achieve the goal of connecting unsheltered San Diegans to shelter and housing, protect public health, and make San Diego safe for everyone.”
There were about 114 public comments, with people in favor of the ordinance and against it.
“I walk my children we’ve been chased by people foaming at the mouth,” one downtown resident said during public comment Thursday.
“The crisis is complicated but the city is looking for an easy solution and that’s criminalization,” another woman said.
For Ellis Rose, the issue was personal having experienced homelessness for half a decade. He says this proposal is a waste of time.
“I have been personally advocating for this issue since 2017,” Rose said. “The city makes the same mistakes for decades. It won’t change because it all fails.”
FOX 5’s Christian Cázares contributed to this story.