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San Diego City Council To Consider New Modified Ban On Living, Sleeping In Vehicles

Advocates for the homeless held a rally outside the City Administration Build...

Photo by Andrew Bowen

Above: Advocates for the homeless held a rally outside the City Administration Building before a City Council committee hearing on a proposed ban on people living in cars, April 17, 2019.

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The San Diego City Council will consider an ordinance Tuesday that would place a limited ban on residents sleeping overnight or living in their cars within city limits.

Aired: May 14, 2019 | Transcript

The San Diego City Council will consider an ordinance Tuesday that would place a limited ban on residents sleeping overnight or living in their cars within city limits.

The ordinance would make it illegal for residents to sleep in their vehicles from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. or at any time within 500 feet of a school, excluding colleges and universities, or a place of residence. The ordinance considers residents to be living in their vehicle if they use it for things like sleeping, bathing or preparing meals.

The council's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee approved the proposal last month without recommendations, allowing the council to make changes and amendments as they see fit.

Homeless advocates and City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery, who cast the lone dissenting vote, argued the city should redraft the ordinance and take feedback from the residents who would be most affected by it.

The ordinance is replacing a nearly 36-year-old ban that the council unanimously voted to repeal in February. The city had not enforced the old ban since last year when a federal judge issued an injunction because the ban was unconstitutionally vague in how the city defined a person as living in a car.

The city intends to support residents living in their vehicles by providing monitored parking lots where residents can sleep overnight and access services like job training and housing assistance. The city contracts with Jewish Family Service of San Diego to oversee its two existing safe parking lots as well as a third lot scheduled to open later this year.

The council will consider the ordinance during its 2 p.m. session in the 12th floor Council Chambers at the City Administration Building at 202 C St.

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