In this photo taken Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, a homeless woman rests under a shade tree as children play at Lions park in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP)
In an effort to manage the growing homeless population Nevada City, California, Police Chief Jim Wickham has advocated a new law that would hand out permits to a small group of homeless giving them permission to sleep in public.
“It just basically means you can’t set up a tent. You can’t live in your vehicle. You can’t live in the woods in Nevada City,” Wickham told CBS Sacremento of the new ordinance which the city council has adopted the first reading of. Wickham says the goal of the new law is to keep out homeless who come to Nevada City to commit crimes or have a criminal history.
CBS reports that the chief will give out six to ten permits now to law-abiding homeless, and check back in six months to see if the program is working. If so, he'll give out more some of the 60 homeless he has identified in the community out of 500 county wide. Those without permits will be arrested.
Reason.com's Rachel Moran notes that despite claims that this is a "one-of-a-kind" idea to deal with the problem, Colorado’s Denver City Council passed a similar “no camping” ordinance back in 2010 that was opposed by the ACLU. The Denver law took effect in May, and the Denver Police Department reported in October to the city's Health, Safety, Education and Services committee that no arrests had yet been made.