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City of Poway considers ordinance Tuesday to allow city to remove homeless encampments

The ordinance would allow the sheriff's department to abate unlawful encampments in the city with 48-hour notice. The ordinance will be introduced Tuesday.

POWAY, Calif. — The "City in the Country" is what Poway has become known for and many people who live there said the old town feel is what they love about it. 

It's one of the reasons why city council members will be discussing additional measures to keep public spaces clear from what they believe could misrepresent that image.

Poway's ordinance, which is set to be introduced Tuesday evening, will allow the sheriff's department to abate unlawful encampments in the city with 48-hour notice.

This comes after the City of San Diego also proposed to ban tents on city sidewalks.

Leaders believe San Diego's decision could lead to a growing number of homeless people migrating to other cities. 

For people living in Poway, they are split on the ordinance.

“I came from LA and the homeless situation is really really bad–so to come out here and not see it as much, is actually pretty good,” said Joahj Tinjca, a resident who has been living in Poway for over seven years.

Others said a ban on homeless encampments won’t fix the issue, it will only drive unsheltered people to keep moving to other areas.  

“I don’t want it if they’re not going to give them a place to actually be, then the streets are all they got,” said George Eberly who lives in Poway and adds that construction in the area has moved homeless people to other areas.

In a statement to CBS 8, Poway's City Manager Chris Hazeltine said,

"Public safety has always been the top priority for the City of Poway, and we continue to demonstrate that as the safest city in the county year after year. But just as important as being safe, our residents need to feel safe. The idea behind this ordinance started over concern by local moms who were repeatedly seeing people occupying the area – in RVs and other vehicles – around their children’s elementary school. This ordinance is simply a tool for our toolbox – to give the city the ability to protect public spaces for safe use by all. Offering resources will always take priority over enforcement. However, this ordinance will enable the Sheriff’s Department to abate public nuisance camping when the encampments are either unoccupied or involve persons who refuse offered services." 

The proposed ordinance is on the agenda and we’ll be following its progress every step of the way.

WATCH RELATED: San Diego's proposed homeless encampment ban facing opposition (May 2023).


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