Battle Born Progress | City Council votes to criminalize homelessness in Downtown Las Vegas
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City Council votes to criminalize homelessness in Downtown Las Vegas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 6, 2019

Contacts: Will Pregman, wpregman@battlebornprogress.org, 702.752.0656

City Council votes to criminalize homelessness in Downtown Las Vegas

The Las Vegas City Council voted 5-2 to pass an ordinance punishing sleeping on public streets with jail time

 

LAS VEGAS, NV –  Today, the Las Vegas City Council voted to pass a controversial ordinance to outlaw the sleeping or camping on public streets, sidewalks, or areas of commerce around the City. Following the passage of this law, providing there are available beds at the Las Vegas’ Courtyard Homeless Resource Center, persons experiencing homelessness would be faced with up to six months in jail if they fail to pay a $1,000 fine. Councilman Brian Knudsen and Councilwoman Olivia Diaz voted against the ordinance, while Councilman Cedric Crear, Councilman Stavros Anthony, Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, Councilwoman Michele Fiore, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman voted in favor. 

Battle Born Progress Executive Director, Annette Magnus, issued the following statement: 

“Today’s despicable vote to functionally make homelessness a crime in the City of Las Vegas demonstrates the undue influence of business interests and money in our local government. Rather than produce a regional strategy to invest real resources to aid persons experiencing homelessness with substance abuse, health care, housing, and other services the City Council has opted to simply lock up those they deem undesirable. Many folks in our community are simply one healthcare emergency or rise in a prescription drug price away from financial disaster away from experiencing homelessness. As a native of Las Vegas, I have never been more disgusted or embarrassed by a policy. This body should be ashamed of themselves for the way they have treated the public today and for even considering this ordinance. 

We believe this action will be more costly in the long run, overburden law enforcement agencies, and break down trust between case-workers and the community they serve. Furthermore, there is reason to believe this policy puts federal HUD dollars in jeopardy, exacerbating existing revenue problems. The Council members and Mayor who voted in favor of this ordinance should be ashamed of themselves, and we vow to continue working with our local partners to hold those members accountable and find real solutions to homelessness in Nevada. I am thankful for the leadership of Councilman Brian Knudsen and Councilwoman Olivia Diaz for voting against this sham ordinance.”

Spokespeople in Spanish or English are available for individual interviews.

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