New law: sleeping is prohibited on the streets of Las Vegas
Homeless in an American city
Officials of the city of Las Vegas in the US state of Nevada issued a law that makes sleeping on the streets illegal in light of the availability of private shelters.
Despite the fierce protests that described the move as a “war on the poor,” it is expected that the measure will begin to be implemented in parts of the city of Vegas.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman, the measure's sponsor, called the measure "necessary" to deal with what she calls the "homeless crisis."
"The city's appearance has become flawed," the mayor said after noting that Las Vegas' economy depends on its image as an international tourist attraction.
She added, "We have been discussing improving the city's image for 20 years, and it was our duty to get results now."
The United States Court of Appeals struck down a similar law from Boise, Idaho, last year, calling it unconstitutional.
The court was surprised by "prosecuting people for sleeping in public places when there are not a sufficient number of shelter beds."
It is noteworthy that the law stipulates warnings for people who are found sleeping or lying down in most areas of the city center.
Starting January 1, the law will punish anyone who sleeps on the street in Las Vegas with up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Pastor at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of North Las Vegas, Leonard Jackson, denounced the law and expressed outrage at the criminalization of sleeping on the streets, during a morning demonstration outside City Hall.
George Allen, a home care worker, specifically said, "If we can build playgrounds, we can build housing for the homeless."
About 100 people demonstrated, chanting, "The war on the poor must go," before protesting against the controversial public meeting that lasted more than nine hours.
Allen was referring to the $2 billion, 65,000-seat football stadium scheduled to open next year for the Oakland Raiders.
He recalled that taxpayers contributed $750 million to the project, while city officials reported spending more than $35 million on homeless-related services last year, including outreach, fire, police and community services.