LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Las Vegas City Council will debate another controversial law aimed at combating homelessness at a Wednesday meeting. Critics say it could do more harm than good.
Homeless advocates plan to gather at City Hall for a protest at 8 a.m. just ahead of the city council hearing on a proposed ordinance on cleaning up city streets.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman is sponsoring the ordinance. It would authorize the Department of Operations and Maintenance to determine hours for sidewalk cleaning. It would also make it a misdemeanor for anyone to obstruct cleaning during those hours. That includes sitting, sleeping, or camping on the sidewalks.
The ACLU believes this goes beyond just keeping the streets clean and that it’s another attempt to shuffle people around or put them in jail.
“Criminalization isn’t going to get people off the streets it’s going to erode trust between law enforcement, social workers, every one actually trying to help with the problem and the people that they’re trying to help and it’s going to make everyone distrustful,” said Wesley Juhl, ACLU of Nevada.
The ordinance goes beyond the camping ban passed in November. That ordinance makes it illegal to sleep on city streets if there are shelter beds open.
The rule being debated Wednesday does not take into account whether there is space at a local shelter.