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San Jose city leaders to vote on homeless encampments crackdown

San Jose city leaders on Tuesday will decide on an ordinance cracking down on homeless encampments located near schools.

If passed, the ordinance will launch a pilot program at a handful of schools, creating a buffer zone for encampments around those campuses.

Students and city staff proposed the ordinance, which would prohibit any tents, RVs and other dwellings within 150 feet of licensed pre-schools, day care facilities or K-12 schools.

The ordinance would give the city authority to tow any vehicles and remove any encampments in violation.

When the schools brought the issue for an initial vote in January, unhoused advocates warned a blanket ban discriminates against homeless people.

City leaders estimate San Jose is home to 850 lived-in vehicles and that nearly 1,500 residents could be impacted by the policy.

Mayor Matt Mahan wants to make sure students have access to education without feeling scared about going to school

“We’ve heard from a number of kids that they don’t feel safe walking to school,” he said. “Even being at school, when there are tents and RV encampments right up against the school boundaries. So we worked with a number of students, particularly at KIPP Collegiate in Eastside San Jose to bring forward a thoughtful ordinance.”

Student activists have said they do not want to criminalize the unhoused, but they insist they should feel safe walking to school.

There have been reports of cat calls coming from RVs parked in front of KIPP and Independence high schools. Needles have been found on school picnic tables.

An important part of the proposed ordnance for the students is providing services for the unhoused.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting starts at 1:30 p.m.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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