Santa Clarita tightens ordinance that prevents homeless people from loitering

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) -- Santa Clarita businessman Tom Bush said the homeless problem in the city is a crisis.

He's hoping the city's decision to add more teeth to an existing ordinance which prevents the homeless from loitering in some public places goes a long way.

"It's bad. They're robbing everybody. Drugs are littered up and down the streets," Bush said. "Don't litter our neighborhoods and don't let them walk up and down in our neighborhoods drunk."

City officials updated the ordinance on the heels of a slight uptick in the homeless population in the Santa Clarita Valley - last year it grew to more than 300 people. The tougher ordinance bans people from sitting on sidewalks or sleeping in cars parked on public property.

"As our city has grown and the population has grown, it needed updating or clarifying to include some of the new facilities that we have in the city. We just opened a brand new parking structure in old town Newhall. We have many community centers and libraries," said Carrie Lujan with the city.

Officials in the Santa Clarita Valley said in an effort to provide more resources to the homeless community over the next three years, they plan to turn a winter homeless shelter into a year-round one.

Under the ordinance, they said code enforcement officers will not only move people along who are camped out in public areas, they will also provide them information about services to help get them off the street.

Officials said they are pouring $1 million into providing more housing and services for the homeless.
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