BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The community has been outspoken about homelessness and the impacts stemming from it. The city manager and city attorney’s office will present to city council members Wednesday night a comparative analysis report of the anti-camping ordinance passed in LA that found that the city of Bakersfield already has ordinances in place to combat the issue of homelessness.
“The city is not looking to adopt specific language out of the LA anti-camping ordinance because we have ordinances that prohibit camping in parks or camping in sidewalks and we are able to take action in those today,” said Christian Clegg the City Manager, City of Bakersfield.
Clegg said at this time Bakersfield will not be adopting LA County’s anti-camping ordinance, because there are already ordinances in place to tackle homelessness in the city.
“The first category is the impacts of homelessness, we also try to prevent homelessness, that’s the second category. The third category is direct homeless services to those individuals experiencing homelessness and the fourth category is housing and affordable housing,” said Clegg.
LA’s ordinance bans sitting, sleeping, lying, or storing personal property on any street, sidewalk, or thoroughfare and the city of Bakersfield already has a similar ordinance.
“We’ve been very proactive in having our rapid response teams that go out and address individuals who are in encampments, notice them that they’re not allowed to stay there in those encampments. One comparison with the LA ordinance, they’re saying they are going to give people a 14-day notice, today we give people a 72-hour notice,” said Clegg.
Clegg said while they found that the anti-camping ordinance was not right for Bakersfield at this time it doesn’t mean they aren’t open to new ideas.
“We know the county of Kern is looking into an anti-camping ordinance and other cities have looked at similar ordinances, if we see additional tools or ordinance language that can help us address issues that we can’t today, we’ll absolutely consider those. But, we just didn’t find any examples in the LA ordinance that would add to our toolkit today,” said Clegg.
Clegg added that the city is aware more work needs to be done to combat the homelessness issue.
“Even though we’ve done a lot of work, we know there’s still a lot to be done because we’re still seeing and experiencing challenges in the community. But, we haven’t been idle, we’ve been working really hard,” said Clegg.
The City Manager wants the community to know that homelessness is still the number one issue for the city, and they will continue to find new ways to battle the problem.