Home » Bill Seeks to Compassionately Clear Homeless Encampments

Bill Seeks to Compassionately Clear Homeless Encampments

Press Release

by CC News

Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones, alongside a coalition of Democrat and Republican Senators, local government officials, and homeless advocates, has unveiled Senate Bill 1011, aimed at compassionately addressing homeless encampments across California. The legislation, modeled after San Diego’s successful “Unsafe Camping Ordinance,”

represents a bipartisan effort to confront the homelessness crisis with both accountability and compassion.

Senate Bill 1011

Click here for the SB 1011 factsheet. The measure would compassionately clear encampments by:

  1. Prohibiting encampments within 500 feet of sensitive community areas such as schools, open spaces, and transit stops. This will help protect our most vulnerable populations – children, seniors, and families.
  2. Prohibiting camping on sidewalks if a homeless shelter is available. This will help protect pedestrians’ need to utilize sidewalks for travel without unfairly inconveniencing homeless individuals.
  3. Requiring a 72-hour warning before an encampment sweep. This will give homeless individuals a chance to find alternatives and services before their encampment is cleared.
  4. Requiring enforcement officers to provide information about sleeping alternatives, homeless and mental health services, and/or homeless shelters in the area. This will help connect homeless individuals to desperately needed services as we compassionately clear encampments.

The bipartisan SB 1011 is Principal Coauthored by Senator Catherine Blakespear (D-Encinitas) and coauthored by the following legislators:

  • Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil (D-Jackson)
  • Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa)
  • Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield)
  • Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber)
  • Senator Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks)
  • Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Huntington Beach)
  • Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa)
  • Senator Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta)
  • Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita)
  • Assemblymember Republican Leader James Gallagher (R-Nicolaus)
  • Assemblymember Heath Flora (R-Lodi)
  • Assemblymember Juan Alanis (R-Modesto)
  • Assemblymember Megan Dahle (R-Bieber)
  • Assemblymember Joe Patterson (R-Fresno)
  • Assemblymember Bill Essayli (R-Corona)
  • Assemblymember Kate Sanchez (R-Rancho Santa Margarita)
  • Assemblymember Laurie Davis (R-Laguna Niguel)

Californians can voice their support for SB 1011 by signing the petition here.

Leader Jones has been a trailblazer in raising awareness about the homeless crisis on social media. Watch his videos covering the crisis in San Diego here and the crisis in Sacramento here.

What they’re saying about SB 1011

“Californians should not have to tolerate the encampments that now fill our open spaces with trash, needles, and human waste. We know that clearing encampments is possible when there is the political will to do so—just look at San Francisco during the APEC conference. It’s dangerous, inhumane, and unhealthy for homeless individuals to live on sidewalks, near our schools and transit stops, and in our open spaces. It’s also not safe or fair to nearby neighbors and local businesses. Our bipartisan SB 1011 will help compassionately clear encampments, clean up California, and protect public safety and health.

“Our SB 1011 strikes the appropriate balance between accountability and compassion in helping tackle the homelessness crisis while putting public health and public safety as the top priority Our measure will hopefully help end the public camping in sensitive community areas while also compassionately assisting the homeless to get treatment for their mental and health needs and find a more suitable place to stay.  Simply buying more tents and saying ‘problem solved’ is not acceptable.” Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones

“Addressing the widespread issue of homelessness is a shared responsibility to ensure our most vulnerable populations receive the proper care, resources, and shelter to begin rebuilding their lives. While we must work together to safeguard our children and families by providing a clear path to our sidewalks, schools, and public spaces, it is imperative we guarantee dignity, respect, and support to those facing homelessness.

I stand behind Senator Jones’ initiative to prioritize compassion and equitable treatment for all members of our community.” – Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil

“Drive down the streets – walk down the road – my story is not alone, nor unique, and California needs to step up to tackle this issue.  I am standing with Senator Jones again this year as address this issue with an improved bill. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, but a California issue. If you care about what is happening in California, I urge all members of the California State Legislature to join Senator Jones and those lawmakers who support his efforts. – Brett Boman, homeless advocate

Background on the California homeless crisis

California leads the nation with the most chronically homeless individuals. Estimates indicate that homelessness in California increased by 6% last year, and nearly 40% over the last six years, to over 181,000 homeless people. During those six years, California spent over $22 billion on homelessness.  In San Diego County, the number of homeless individuals shot up by 14% in 2023 alone, to over 10,000 individuals. Similar trends are seen across the state with a 10% increase in the homeless population in LA just last year and a nearly 70% growth in the homeless population in Sacramento from 2019 to 2022.

Californians are becoming increasingly concerned with the state’s growing homeless population as they notice the homelessness encampments increase across the state. In fact, 60% of Californian adults say the presence of homeless people has increased over the past year and almost 70% of Californian adults see it as a big problem.

Residents are concerned about dangerous encampments, crime, and quality of life degrading in their neighborhoods because of the homelessness crisis. Parents are worried about their family’s safety with encampments steps away from schools, playgrounds, and areas where children often congregate.

Some local governments have already taken action to address their residents’ concerns about increasing homelessness. The City of Los Angeles recently passed a measure aimed at banning homeless encampments near certain schools, parks, libraries, and daycare centers.

The City of Sacramento recently passed measures to ban homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools, childcare centers, colleges, hospitals, and levees. The City of San Diego has just passed the “Unsafe Camping Ordinance” which prohibits camping within 500 feet of schools, open spaces, or transit stops.

These measures have strong support from residents in local jurisdictions. However, these additional tools to compassionately clear encampments are not available to all local jurisdictions statewide.


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3 comments

Street Sweeper February 6, 2024 - 3:30 pm

“We know that clearing encampments is possible when there is the political will to do so—just look at San Francisco during the APEC conference.”

Yes, look at San Francisco, LOL

Reply
MODERATE February 7, 2024 - 8:46 am

This would be a baby step in the right general direction. But until we get serious about mandating inpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment for those who are clearly unable to function independently, there will be only marginal improvement. “More of the same” (shoveling endless tax dollars into dubious non-profits) is NOT a solution.

Reply
Lazy K February 9, 2024 - 1:41 pm

I would just be happy for first responders to be able to see a therapist with EMS experience and less than 18 month waiting period.
Will there be vouchers for homeless to travel to shelters or appointments?
I wonder what kind of waiting period there might be for them.

Reply

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