Point in Time Count
Volunteers in Vista interact with those living on the streets. Photo credit: County News Center

Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones‘ bill to clear homeless encampments near schools, parks, libraries and daycare centers has received bipartisan support in the state Legislature.

Sen. Bill Dodd, a Democrat from Napa, has signed on as a coauthor of Senate Bill 31, which seeks to “compassionately clear” encampments near sensitive areas.

“Kids shouldn’t be exposed to the open drug use and the dangerous situations we are seeing in homeless encampments near schools and parks across the state,” said Jones, who represents east San Diego County.

“I’ve said from the beginning, this is not a partisan issue. We welcome the bipartisan support on our measure to address this issue compassionately and connect people with the services and shelter they desperately need.”

“Californians of all political stripes can agree on one thing — homelessness is a crisis in our state,” said Dodd. “We must work together to move people from encampments into better accommodations where they can have access to services.”

The legislation would prohibit encampments near sensitive community areas such as schools, parks, libraries, and daycare centers. Homeless individuals would receive a 72-hour warning before an encampment sweep to give them a chance to seek help. Enforcement officers would be required to provide information about alternatives.

The bill is set for a hearing before the Senate Public Safety Committee on March 28.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.