Redlands homeless policies differ from new Las Vegas laws

By BROOKE MGBAFILIKE

Over the years, city officials have tried many different ways to get people off the streets.

The homeless crisis in America is only going up according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, on any given night there are over 600,000 homeless people in America. Many cities have tried to combat this problem by offering shelters or programs, but Las Vegas has taken a different approach. On Nov. 6, 2019 by a 5-to-2 vote, Las Vegas passed a law that makes it illegal to sleep, lay down or camp in public and residential areas. Those who break the law will face a misdemeanor charge up to $1,000 or 6 months in jail. For many people, this law is controversial but to others this could have a positive impact. Mayor Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas claims it is a “benefit to the homeless population.”

Las Vegas is not the first city to enact a homeless ban; the National Law Center on Homeless and Poverty found that 47 percent of the 187 analyzed cities had laws that bar homeless individuals from sitting and lying down in public areas in 2016. In more recent years, President Donald Trump weighed in on this issue by telling reporters on Sept. 17 of 2019 that the homeless were ruining the “best highways, our best streets, [and] our best entrances to buildings.” With all this in mind, some could ask the question, “How can this affect my city?” This question can be applied to the City of Redlands.

Instead of creating ban laws on the homeless of Redlands, the city took a  different approach to decreasing the homeless population. On May 7, 2019 the city agreed to move forward with a $600,000 homeless relief plan from San Bernardino County that will go towards helping the homeless by connecting them to resources such as drug and alcohol treatment, education, mental health services, first aid and housing. Redlands City Council Member, Toni Momberger, believes that the city can do more to combat the homeless population. Nonetheless, the city of Redlands still continues to work toward decreasing the homeless population like many other cities.

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