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Enforcement of San Diego's Unsafe Camping Ordinance begins Monday

An additional safe sleeping site at a large parking lot between Balboa Park and the Naval Medical Center near Interstate 5 is expected to also be opened.

SAN DIEGO — Indo is originally from Sudan. She said she aged out of the foster care system and is waiting on proper paperwork, leading her to live in a tent in downtown San Diego for the past two weeks. 

"I'm depressed as hell, like every day. There are days you don’t want to wake up. 'Please do not wake up tomorrow, " I tell myself," Indo said. "Sitting here has humbled me."

Enforcement of San Diego's recently passed Unsafe Camping Ordinance began Monday, one day after the law went into effect.

The ordinance, passed June 27 and signed into law by Mayor Todd Gloria on June 29, prohibits tent encampments in all public spaces throughout the city if shelter beds are available. It also bans tent encampments at all times in certain sensitive areas, including parks, canyons and near schools, transit stations and homeless shelters - regardless of shelter capacity.

"That means encampments are prohibited on all public property city-wide at all times regardless of shelter availability," said city councilmember Stephen Whitburn. "We encourage people to go to a Safe Sleeping Site at 20th and B, the City of San Diego Maintenance Yard. Call 211 to see if shelter beds are available."

Police will be giving a few chances to those living outside. The first is a warning, the second is a misdemeanor citation, and finally, they will arrest if someone doesn’t comply with staying at a safe sleeping site.

Whitburn said the city plans to open another safe sleeping site at a large parking lot between Balboa Park and the Naval Medical Center near Interstate 5.

Meanwhile, Indo plans to move to a safe sleeping site and tearfully said she hopes for better things to come.

"I have to remind myself I have a purpose, even though I don’t know what that is and I'm dealing with emotions. I pray to God something comes," she cried.

The council passed the controversial ordinance 5-4, with Gloria and Whitburn being strong advocates. Those who voted no on the ordinance were Council President Sean Elo- Rivera and his colleagues Kent Lee, Monica Montgomery Steppe and Vivian Moreno. The four also voted against the ordinance on its first reading June 13.

WATCH RELATED: New 'no camping' signs posted in downtown San Diego

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