Media Contact

Wesley Juhl - juhl@aclunv.org

October 1, 2019

OCTOBER 1, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LAS VEGAS—Advocates for the homeless and affordable housing will gather at Las Vegas City Hall on Wednesday morning to oppose a new ordinance that would turn thousands of Southern Nevadans experiencing homelessness into criminals.

The new ordinance will criminalize a number of life-sustaining activities as well as mundane ones such as sitting on the sidewalk. This is a cruel and misguided policy that will not address the root problems of homelessness. 

Access the meeting agenda and ordinance language here.

Community members who oppose the ordinance are encouraged to wear green to Wednesday's City Council meeting as a show of solidarity. Green was the favorite color of Gail Sacco, a lifelong advocate for the homeless, who passed away recently.

More than 300 individuals and organizations have joined the coalition opposing the bill in the last few days, including: Faith Organizing Alliance, Nevada Homeless Alliance, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, ACLU of Nevada, Make it Work Nevada, Make The Road Nevada, Mass Liberation, Caridad, Straight from the Streets, Mi Familia Vota, Nevada Conservation League, Community Counseling Center, Indivisible OWLs, Latinos Unidos - Latinx United, Law Office of Lisa Rasmussen, Law Offices of Kristina Wildeveld, Life After Release, Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition, Nevada NOW, Nevada Youth Activist Alliance, Paradise Las Vegas Indivisible, Reformation Lutheran Church, Trans Pride Foundation, and more.

Nevada Homeless Alliance Executive Director Emily Paulsen said:

"Ticketing and jailing people for not having a home is shameful and ineffective policy. Criminalizing people who are homeless creates additional barriers for them to get off the streets and increases public costs. We urge the Mayor to withdraw Bill 2019-36 from consideration and focus the city’s efforts on real solutions, such as building affordable housing.”

ACLU of Nevada Legal Director Sherrie Royster said:

"I can’t see anyway that an ordinance like this could be enforced fairly if it is even enforceable at all. The problems southern Nevada and its homeless community members are facing cannot be solved with punitive policies, and criminalization is not a substitute for housing or services."

Faith In Action said:

“It is immoral, unjust, and inhumane to criminalize the homeless for not having shelter or for sleeping on the street. We must do better. We have to find solutions that see the inherent value and dignity of all people, including those that are homeless. 

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada Economic Organizer Briceida Castro said:

“The City of Las Vegas has failed to provide affordable housing and shelter space, leaving too many Nevadans to camp in public to survive. The City should be working to build community-led solutions, instead of creating these inhumane ordinances that have become the legacy of the Goodman family.”

Make the Road Nevada Political Director LaLo Montoya said:

"Bill 2019-36 strips our communities most in need of their dignity. The mayor of Las Vegas should show leadership by addressing the housing crisis focused on bringing more tools and resources to invest in affordable housing.”

WHO: People struggling with homelessness as well as advocates for the homeless and affordable housing

WHERE: 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Las Vegas City Hall

WHAT: Advocates wearing green will gather in solidarity to oppose the criminalization of homelessness

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