Controversial city law making it illegal to sleep on sidewalks starts Saturday

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The new homeless ordinance will be enforced starting Saturday, Feb. 1 in the city of Las Vegas. The law makes it illegal to sleep or camp on sidewalks if a bed is available at a homeless shelter.

Over the past month, the city has been trying out a text system where push notifications will let police know how many beds are available at local shelters. The automated system  is updated every two hours.

Anyone sleeping on city sidwalks could face a misdemeanor charge if shelter beds are available. The new ordinance also includes potential jail time and fines up to $1,000.

The city says the intention isn’t aimed at rounding up people and sending them to jail, but rather connecting them to services.

“This is so complex. There’s not one single answer. There’s got to be a lot of answers. We’re very committed to working with all stakeholders to address homelessness,” said Kathi Thomas-Gibson, director of community services.

It’s estimated around 67% of the homeless population sleeps outside. The ordinance will be suspended when shelters are out of beds.

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