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San Jose council to discuss proposal to keep homeless camps farther from schools

San Jose city leaders on Tuesday are expected to hear a number of options surrounding a proposed ordinance that would address homeless encampments near schools.

In August, students and city staff, with the support of some councilmembers, proposed an ordinance that would prohibit any encampments and vehicle dwellings within 150 feet of licensed preschools, day care facilities or K-12 schools.

On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council will be presented with a number of potential next steps, including a draft ordinance, a pilot program, further study of the issue or tabling the proposal until March budget meetings for the next fiscal year, according to the council agenda.

Mayor Matt Mahan fully supports an ordinance, as it falls in line with his push to clean up the homeless issue in the Bay Area’s largest city.

“[The students] spoke out because homeless neighbors were sleeping on school grounds and in school bathrooms,” Mahan said in August. “They spoke out because they were finding needles on their lunch tables.”

The ordinance as it is written would allow the city to tow RVs and it would beef up enforcement of an existing policy banning encampments in school zones rather than creating a new, redundant city code.

Mahan last week also called for more funds to help clear encampments along the Guadalupe River and its creek trail.

“It’s hard for us to build public trust and get taxpayers and other government agencies in California to trust us with our limited public dollars if we can’t keep these areas clean and clear and accessible to the public,” he said.

No vote was expected on the school issue Tuesday. The proposed ordinance will be heard at City Hall no earlier than 3:30 p.m.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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