Home » CalMatters: Why Legislators Of Both Parties Want To Ban Homeless Encampments

CalMatters: Why Legislators Of Both Parties Want To Ban Homeless Encampments


By Lynn La – CalMatters

Describing California’s homelessness crisis as “inhumane” and “unhealthy,” Senate GOP leader Brian Jones of San Diego and Democratic Sen. Catherine Blakespear of Encinitas today announced a bipartisan bill to ban homeless encampments near “sensitive community areas” statewide.

Modeled after San Diego’s “Unsafe Camping Ordinance,” Senate Bill 1011 prohibits encampments within 500 feet of schools, open spaces and major transit stops. It also bans camping on sidewalks if shelter space is available; requires cities or counties to give an unhoused person 72-hour notice before clearing an encampment; and mandates “enforcement personnel” to provide information about homeless shelters in the area.


Jones: “California has spent $22 billion in the past six years on homelessness and what do we have to show for it? Nearly a 40% increase in homeless population…. Clearly California’s current approach to homelessness is failing and Californians are tired of it.”

The most recent count found more than 181,000 unhoused Californians last year, 28% of the national total.

Adding that it was “not our goal to criminalize homelessness,” Jones said that the state’s homelessness issue was a nonpartisan issue. He touted the bill’s 18 other co-authors of both parties, including Blakespear, who said that San Diego’s camping ordinance has moved about 60% of people off its downtown streets since going into effect in July.

Though both legislators emphasized clearing encampments “compassionately,” advocates for unhoused people argue that displacing homeless people from their dwellings is traumatizing and dangerous to their health.


And despite the state’s current $750 million, multi-year initiative to clear homeless encampments, it remains uncertain whether a significant number of the displaced homeless individuals will find permanent housing.

If the bill is passed, it’s also unclear how it will shake out with a highly-anticipated U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In January, the high court agreed to hear a case that has the potential to either grant California cities and counties more authority to clear homeless encampments and penalize those who sleep on streets — or continue to restrict them from enforcing camping bans.


Aunt Barbara February 12, 2024 - 11:24 AM - 11:24 AM

There is no excuse for being slovenly and thoughtless just because you are homeless. They should be cleaning up their Cities instead of doing drugs and drinking themselves into oblivion.

Captain Bebops February 12, 2024 - 12:01 PM - 12:01 PM

They are probably too stoned to do that. Those that aren’t are probably living out of their cars and scraping to get by at a job. Our economy is out-of-sync. It rewards the already wealthy and screws those just trying to get by. Continuing raising the minimum wage is just plain stupid. It does not solve the problem. More likely a redo will be done and the economy will need to be scaled to the homeless economy. The rest may be in for higher taxes though maybe only if you have an overly large income anyway. We don’t have a “great reset” but “big crash”.

Lamorinda Larry February 13, 2024 - 12:06 PM - 12:06 PM

Reenact and enforce vagrancy laws in city limits NOW.

Vagrants deserve no more than the brave young soldiers who voluntarily enlist to serve and defend our country.

Offer the able-bodied lacking the wherewithal to secure indoor accommodation an opportunity to relocate to dry / sober labor camps to staff public works projects. Build the camp infrastructure to US military specifications (ie, cabin tents, bunk beds, shared washrooms, chow halls, infirmaries, and austere worship facilities) and impose military housekeeping discipline (eg, make your bunk, sweep the floor, clean and press your outfit and neatly stash your personal effects). Revelry at 0600, group exercise at 0630, chow at 0730, work till lunch, dinner at 0600 and taps at 0800. Offer VA-compliant mental health and substance abuse treatment services on site. After a year, those who follow the program will save enough to secure an apartment and enter the labor market with fresh job training and the self-discipline to use it.

A century ago, anti social lunatics and hobos committed to sleeping rough took to the woods and became ‘mountain men” squatters removed from society. Those who refuse to accept residential employment at a work camp will get a one-way transfer to the Alaskan backcountry where they can live as they please, without society’s constraints.

Meanwhile, families in low income communities will reclaim their neighborhood parks, playgrounds and open spaces.

Snickerdad February 12, 2024 - 11:41 AM - 11:41 AM

22 billion dollars in 6 years and a increase of 40% does anyone else see a connection there.
Someone please tell where 22 billion dollars has gone.
I’m guessing most of it did go to the homeless.
Every Tom, Dick, and Harry starts their organization to help the homeless, but than each has to have CEOs managers, and supervisor, by the time we pay all the exclusive there’s not much left for those who it.

Original G February 12, 2024 - 2:06 PM - 2:06 PM

Think of the process as one giant circle.
“If you want to understand any problem in America,
you need to look at who profits from that problem,
not at who suffers from that problem.”

–Dr. Amos Wilson
Homeless industrial complex

Oh, please February 12, 2024 - 9:11 PM - 9:11 PM

Most of the homeless are a money pit. They don’t want to be helped. WE need to stop giving them money, so they stop buying drugs.

Donothaveone February 15, 2024 - 2:13 AM - 2:13 AM

You get it. And that’s why homelessness isn’t being fixed. There’s too much money to be made off the backs of homeless people. Too many third party charities and quickly thrown together church programs and whatnot with their hand out collecting cash.

OverWhelmed February 12, 2024 - 11:57 AM - 11:57 AM

They are so concerned for these people that CHOOSE to be on the streets so they don’t have to abide by rules, they are forgetting the kids and others who are paying for all this. It really needs to stop. Really needs to be cleaned up and not allowed to happen again. Vagrancy laws are in place for a reason. Disease is number one. There is raw sewage, (feces, urine) filth from dumpsters, hepatitis, and other things where these camps are. When a camp is taken down, hazmat is called in. That is how bad it is.

MAGA SAM February 12, 2024 - 12:31 PM - 12:31 PM

It’s an election year. That’s why.

Ignatz February 12, 2024 - 6:37 PM - 6:37 PM


WC---Creeker February 12, 2024 - 1:20 PM - 1:20 PM

“advocates for unhoused people argue that displacing homeless people from their dwellings is traumatizing and dangerous to their health.” These advocates are out of touch. They are way too pro-unhoused as it gives them a sense of purpose. They attack anyone that would like to see no unhoused., but wouldn’t that be great! Displacing unhoused from their dwellings…. doesn’t even make sense.

You Know It's True February 12, 2024 - 1:33 PM - 1:33 PM

There is too much money to be made in the homeless industry.

Snickerdad February 12, 2024 - 4:49 PM - 4:49 PM

Yes, 22 billion dollars in 6 years.
Must people can’t imagine what a billion dollars can buy.

Oh, please February 12, 2024 - 9:12 PM - 9:12 PM

“Don’t feed the bears.” This saying exists for an obvious reason.

bdml February 13, 2024 - 1:17 PM - 1:17 PM

Yep same goes for racism too many grifters out there getting rich by division

PO'd February 12, 2024 - 5:01 PM - 5:01 PM

By the time people completely drop out and become feral, they are essentially worthless,
wasting valuable public funds. Yes, there is a lot of money to be made in the homeless
industrial complex. $77,000/homeless person in SF last year, according to former mayor
Frank Jordan.
As SF faces a 500 million$ “shortfall” due to declining tax monies, it remains to be seen
what happens when the homeless don’t get their full monthly stipend checks. More
stores close, I guess.
Downward spiral continues.

Oh, please February 12, 2024 - 9:13 PM - 9:13 PM

They are worthless. We are throwing money into a pit. There is no return on this at all. Just waste.

Jeff (the other one) February 12, 2024 - 5:32 PM - 5:32 PM

I suspect cretinous little wiener will stand in the way of this.

Fed Up February 13, 2024 - 9:11 AM - 9:11 AM

Just 5 years ago the National Budget was $4 Trillion a year. Under COVID it went to $6 Trillion.
COVID was over 2 years ago, the budget is still $6 Trillion, go figure. I guess that is where a lot of this wasteful spending is coming from.

bdml February 13, 2024 - 1:19 PM - 1:19 PM

Yeah go figure we were lied to & sold fear to knuckle under & comply. How does anybody feel that the gov has their back or best interest at heart is beyond me

Glen223 February 13, 2024 - 9:26 AM - 9:26 AM

$22 billion spent to “combat” homelessness and a 40% increase in homelessness? That’s a MASSIVE FAILURE!

This legislature is a FAILURE. And the voters have FAILED in holding the politicians accountable. Obviously the politicians are NOT interested in solving a problem, but only interested in throwing more money at a problem without having specific solutions and schedules in place. They would NEVER survive in the real world.

This is nothing more than fraud and mismanagement of public funds….no matter how it’s painted.

I dare ANYONE to prove me wrong.

Atticus Thraxx February 13, 2024 - 8:13 PM - 8:13 PM

I have no solutions. There is something fundamentally wrong with our socioeconomic system. Something we missed, some crucial element that’s so close none of us can see it. I refuse to believe this is some en mass character deficiency that sudden sprang into being because of the Kardasians or skeevy liberals. But maybe I’m wrong. But probably not. 🙃
Or maybe this is just how empires crumble. A death of a thousand cuts. Many self inflicted. 🇺🇸

Donothaveone February 15, 2024 - 2:16 AM - 2:16 AM

Technically the system is working exactly the way it’s supposed to. A whole bunch of people are profiting off homeless people. Further up it’s at 77,000 per homeless person in San Francisco. That is an apartment for every homeless person with money left over.

Donothaveone February 15, 2024 - 2:18 AM - 2:18 AM

22 billion dollars wow. That money if it had been spent correctly would have solved all the homeless problem and the entire country for a couple years at least.

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