- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2019

Homeless people will no longer be able to sleep or “lodge” in certain parts of Las Vegas after the city council approved a new ban.

The proposal, which passed 5-2 on Wednesday, would make it a misdemeanor for homeless people to rest in the city’s downtown district and certain residential areas.

Critics have said the law criminalizes homeless people, arguing that the $1,000 fine and six months in prison could set them back further from saving up for rent or getting a job.

“We know this isn’t perfect,” Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who proposed the ordinance, said during a meeting before the vote. “We’re going to find the flaws, and we’re going to fix them.”

She added that the intention was to coax displaced residents toward homeless shelters and added that the ban would not be instituted if there were no beds available.

“This is to get our homeless into an environment of re-entry into the best life in this community,” she said, according to NBC News.

Her comments were made during a lively town meeting Wednesday with homeless people, residents and civil rights advocates filling the chamber and holding signs that said “surviving should not be illegal” and “where’s your compassion?” They also chanted “housing not handcuffs.”

Council member Brian Knudsen, who voted down the ordinance, said during the meeting he opposed the bill because, “There is very significant research and data that will confirm that public safety and criminal justice systems are the most expensive course of action for working with individuals affected by homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse.”

The ban will go into effect Sunday, but penalties will not be enforced until February.

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