San Mateo County Passes Bay Area Council-Backed Ordinance to Bring Homeless Residents Indoors

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Unsheltered homeless residents in San Mateo County will be required to accept shelter when available under a new ordinance passed unanimously Tuesday (Jan. 23) by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. Unsheltered homelessness is extremely deadly, with people sleeping outdoors suffering far higher rates of homicide, accidental death, and chronic and infectious disease than the housed population. The ordinance would allow the county, which recorded 40 unsheltered homeless deaths last year, to remove illegal encampments if an offer of shelter or housing has been made twice and rejected.

Given the devastating impacts unsheltered homelessness has on personal health and safety, governments must work together to hold themselves accountable for bringing people indoors and saving lives. The new ordinance requires a second reading later this month before taking effect. The Bay Area Council thanks Board President Warren Slocum and Supervisor David Pine for introducing the ordinance. To engage on the Council’s Homelessness Committee, please contact Senior Vice President Adrian Covert.

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