Citing L.A. as a model, Riverside bans homeless camps in San…

In an effort to deal with a burgeoning unhoused inhabitants and extending fireplace chance, the Riverside City Council has licensed a ban on tenting or napping in spaces the place undeveloped plants runs up towards properties, together with the Santa Ana River backside.

The ordinance makes it unlawful to “sit down, lie, sleep, or retailer, use, care for, or position any cumbersome merchandise or private belongings” within the so-called wildland-urban interface. Before the 6-1 vote Tuesday night time, town officers cited an anticamping ordinance handed final 12 months by way of the Los Angeles City Council designating sure spaces off-limits to encampments; the legislation has drawn complaint from activists who say it criminalizes homelessness.

Councilmember Clarissa Cervantes was once the lone no vote, bringing up considerations that there may not be sufficient safe haven for everybody residing within the river backside.

Exacerbated by way of excessive drought, possible “human-caused” fires have ignited within the river backside over time, prompting officers to suggest the anticamping ordinance. In the final 5 years, the Riverside Fire Department has replied to 163 requires plants fires within the Santa Ana River backside, 66% of that have been precipitated by way of people, consistent with a town record.

Riverside has struggled with homelessness for years, meting out $33.5 million of its town price range in 2021-22 to create reasonably priced housing and deal with the disaster.

In June, the City Council licensed a five-year plan to scale back homelessness that comes with assembling a “Wildlands Public Safety Engagement Team” comprising the Riverside Police Department, outreach employees from City Net and code enforcement officials to take a look at to interact with folks residing within the Santa Ana River backside.

Once safe haven and housing are made to be had, the group will behavior anticamping enforcement and camp clean-up.

Officials stated they’re going to abide by way of a federal courtroom ruling that forbids towns from implementing prohibitive tenting ordinances when selection housing isn’t to be had.

The county this 12 months has known 3,316 homeless folks, 59.71% of whom don’t have safe haven. As extra folks have resided within the Santa Ana River backside and far off canyon spaces, fireplace chance has higher.

During Tuesday’s assembly, officers additionally highlighted the Riverside County Partnership for the Homeless Outreach Medication and Education program, another legal sentencing program for the ones experiencing homelessness or at the verge of homelessness.

In order to qualify for this system, which promotes a treatment-based method to sentencing, reasonably than incarceration or fines, the individual will have to be charged with a nonviolent misdemeanor and be evaluated by way of the courtroom, legal professionals and Riverside University Health System-Behavioral Health.

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