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Las Vegas Approves Homeless Camping Ban

The city of Las Vegas has approved a law that prohibits the homeless from camping in large swaths of the city. The measure provoked the opposition on most of the public in attendance at a City Council hearing this week.
November 7, 2019, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Sleeping in Public
Rosemarie Mosteller

"In an attempt to address homelessness, the Las Vegas City Council approved 5-2 a controversial ordinance Wednesday that will ban camping, sleeping and similar activities throughout downtown and in residential areas," reports Miranda Wilson.

The new law, proposed by Mayor Carolyn Goodman, "will make it a misdemeanor to rest, sleep, lie down, use a blanket, camp or 'lodge' in public rights of way adjacent to residential properties, in 12 downtown-area districts, or within 500 feet of a food processing facility. "

The new law in Las Vegas recalls a similar law under consideration in Los Angeles, which would "ban sleeping on streets and sidewalks within 500 feet of schools, parks, day-care facilities and some popular venues," according to a Los Angeles Times article published in September.

Supporters of the Las Vegas law insist that the intention of the prohibition is not to prosecute the homeless, but to connect homeless residents with support services. Still, the approval met boisterous opposition from the public during the council's hearing on the law this week.

Additional coverage for the City Council decision is provided by Shea Johnson and Briana Erickson.

No mention in either article is made of the decision in Martin v. City of Boise (potentially headed to the Supreme Court) that requires cities that ban sleeping in public to have enough shelter space to house the homeless population.

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Published on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 in Las Vegas Sun
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