Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A petition containing more than 1,100 signatures calling for the city of San Diego to stop penalizing the homeless was submitted Tuesday to Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

The petition requests “emergency action” to suspend the citing, arresting and issuance of stay-away orders to unsheltered residents, said Steph Johnson, a musician who helped organize the signature drive.

She said more signatures are being added, so the total will grow.

“It was a grassroots effort that happened over the holidays and it’s continuing,” Johnson said outside the mayor’s office.

The mayor’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Johnson said the city should consider allowing so-called “tiny houses” to be placed on empty lots, and providing better training for law enforcement who deal with the homeless.

“We’re ready for real solutions,” Johnson said.

She said city officials need to put a higher priority on the issue because homelessness is increasingly being noticed by “shocked” visitors, which could impact tourism.

Johnson, a singer and guitarist, formed and directs a choir made up of homeless people called Voices of Our City, which is designed to focus attention on the issue.

—City News Service