Addressing the Homeless Crisis

California’s homelessness population is over 181,300 statewide, a nationwide high. Estimates indicate that the homeless population has increased by at least 22,500 over just the past three years, and that California is home to almost half of the nation’s unsheltered homeless people

In the past six years, California has spent $22 billion trying to tackle the crisis, yet there’s been nearly a 40% increase in homelessness during that time same time period.

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.

That is why I am proud to join Senator Brian Jones to co-author Senate Bill 1011. This bipartisan bill, modeled after San Diego’s successful Unsafe Camping Ordinance, balances government accountability for maintaining safe public spaces with compassion for individuals experiencing homelessness by doing the following: 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. No one should be living on the street, and no community should have to accept homeless encampments that rapidly become dangerous health and safety problems for surrounding people, homes, and businesses.

SB 1011 is a vital piece of legislation that will safely and compassionately assist the homeless population while keeping communities safe.

It is my privilege to be your State Senator.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.