LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Las Vegas city council members are considering a new ordinance to tackle homelessness. While the measure is designed to help, homeless advocates say it’s illegal.
The ordinance, sponsored by Mayor Carolyn Goodman, was formally introduced today. City council is proposing making it a misdemeanor to camp or sleep in certain public areas, like sidewalks. By definition, a misdemeanor carries a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 6 months in jail.
If the proposal passes, it will not be enforced when shelters are full and out of beds.
A small rally was held outside city hall this morning in opposition of the proposal, with some high-profile names in attendance. 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro stopped by to voice his concerns while he was in town for campaign events.
“I know that Las Vegas can better than this. I know that Las Vegas can work to provide permanent supportive housing for people who are homeless,” said Castro.
In a written statement, Mayor Goodman said the ordinance is designed to direct people to the city’s Courtyard Homeless Resource Center and other nonprofits working to break the cycle of homelessness.
Others believe this is not the first issue that should be on the table to fix, saying the city needs to make the issue of urine or feces around the area a priority.
The proposal goes to the full city council on Nov. 6 for discussion and possible action.