YOLO COUNTY (CBS13) — This week, Yolo County supervisors gave the go-ahead to plan that gets rid of tents and tarps left by the homeless on county property.
But, the decision may fly in the face of a federal law protecting homeless people’s rights.
Cleta Jones, 65, is disabled and homeless. She sleeps in the shelter at night, but like many during the day, it’s a different story.
“You have to have a place to go to be out of the public eye,” another woman said.
Woodland has the highest number of homeless in the county, with 238 people living on the streets. There are 192 homeless people in West Sacramento and 190 in Davis. Some suffer from mental illness, addiction, and job loss.
“I have income, but it’s hard to have anywhere when you have one income,” Jones said.
So many find themselves in front of the old courthouse, but the community has had enough.
“They’ve reported numerous times, vicious dogs, aggressive confrontative people,” County Supervisor Gary Sandy said.
Law enforcement is worried about criminal activity inside the tents. That’s why supervisors approved an ordinance to regulate tents and other similar structures like tarps on county property.
Supervisor Jim Provenza was the sole dissenting vote.
“It’s a way around the law, an attempt to get around the law,” Provenza said.
Provenza says it’s a violation of what’s come to be known as the “Boise Law,” which says you cannot move the homeless unless they have a shelter to go to.
“No, I’m not particularly worried about lawsuits at all. I think this is a constitutional law,” Sandy said.
He says the county law moves property, not people. It includes 24-hour advance notice, where social services are offered, and free 90-day storage for their belongings.
Provenza wonders how it will play out in the courts and questions the decision before construction on a third shelter at the edge of town.
This week, the Yuba County Board of Supervisors approved a similar ordinance, banning camping along levees, cemeteries, sidewalks and other places.