Kern County passes anti-camping ordinance

Local News

Today the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an anti-camping ordinance that would specify times and locations where it shall be unlawful to camp in public areas.

The ordinance would make it unlawful for someone to camp or place personal items in public areas during certain times of the day and locations. It would also facilitate the coordination of teams of counselors, mental health professionals, law enforcement and others to ease unsheltered people through a process that would eventually put them into permanent housing.

The ordinance does say that if the resources are not available then it will be enforced with discretion.

“Supporting our navigation center, supporting our homeless centers, supporting people that are providing services, is the direction we need to be going,” said Supervisor Phillip Peters. “This ordinance isn’t even enforceable, it says it right in the ordinance, if we don’t have space, if we don’t have beds, if we don’t have the resources to provide. So we are not talking about this forced policing, this stuff that we have been hearing.”

“Establishes a process to connect the homeless to available shelter space and precludes the
enforcement of the ordinance if no such shelter space exists,” the ordinance states.

Supporters and opponents voiced their opinions on the decision.

Even though some residents spoke against passing the ordinance in the morning session of the supervisor’s meeting, the supervisors still unanimously passed the anti-camping ordinance. One impassioned public speaker was asked to leave when refusing to surrender the microphone to other speakers after her allotted time was up.

The ordinance will go into effect on 30 days from today.

You can read the full ordinance here.

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