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National City council proposes ordinance to firmly regulate homeless encampments

Posted at 7:18 AM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 10:18:32-04

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) – National City officials are looking to put a stop to the city’s growing homeless population.

The City Council on Tuesday is slated to introduce an ordinance regulating encampments on public property in the city. If the ordinance passes the council, it will take effect 30 days after.

According to city's agenda for Tuesday, “In 2023, there were 159 un-sheltered individuals identified in National City, which is an approximate 6.7% increase from 2022.”

The proposed ordinance would prevent people from camping on public property from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. when shelter beds are available.

It also would prevent people from camping on public property, regardless of shelter bed availability, if its:

  1. Within two blocks of a school with signs up prohibiting encampments
  2. In any waterway or natural area next to a waterway
  3. Within any transit hub, on any trolley platform, or along any trolley tracks with signs posted saying no encampments

The ordinance would also prohibit people from camping on public property when they do not dispose of waste that poses a health and safety threat to the public.
Before enforcing the ordinance, the ordinance proposes that police officers would have to let the person know how many shelter beds are available and offer an available bed to them.

However, if the person rejects the offer and does not leave the property, then the officer can issue a misdemeanor or take that person into custody.

The city's homeless outreach program, HOME, and the San Diego Rescue Mission is expecting to open a shelter in National City by this summer.

The 30-day shelter would have 162 beds open to anyone in San Diego County in need.