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National City Council votes on proposed ban on homeless camps

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (FOX 5/KUSI) – National City could become the latest municipality in the county to impose a ban on homeless camps.

On Tuesday, the National City Council will meet to discuss a proposed ordinance that would ban unoccupied residents from living in encampments while emergency shelter beds are available.

In its current form, the ordinance would be very similar to the ordinance passed by the city of San Diego last year, which includes language making it illegal to be within two blocks of a school, transportation hub or waterway, regardless of the availability of accommodation.

It will be the latest in a series of groups that have followed San Diego’s lead and enacted some sort of encampment ban. Poway passed a similar regulation last year as some state lawmakers look for a way to enforce the rules statewide.

National City residents have mixed feelings about San Diego’s so-called “unsafe camping ordinance” and the proposed mirror.

Some local elected officials, like National City Mayor Ron Morrison, see the law as part of a broader solution to the crisis.

“We allow people to have any excuse they want,” he told FOX 5 last month. “But until you say get help or leave, most of them won’t do anything.”

But critics of the measure point out that since the ordinance took effect last year, National City’s Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement Team (HOME team) has seen an increase in unhoused San Diegans simply being pushed south into their city .

As KPBS reported last monthThe HOME team, which consists of a code enforcement coordinator and a homelessness services coordinator who helps connect homeless people with social workers, has also raised significant concerns that a encampment ban could impact their work .

“I don’t see a positive outcome,” said John Brady, director of Lived Experience Advisers. “We don’t have enough to solve this problem, and more importantly, we simply don’t have the housing we need.”

As of Tuesday, National City has no shelters in its jurisdiction. Morrison said the city plans to open a 30-day, 162-bed shelter later this summer that will be available to all homeless individuals in the county and will be operated by Rescue Mission.

The city council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m

FOX 5/KUSI’s Danielle Dawson contributed to this report.

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