San Mateo Supervisors Vote to Ban Public Camping

San Mateo County supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that would outlaw public camping when shelter space is available.

Under the policy, a person living in a public encampment could be cited for a misdemeanor if they have refused offers of shelter after two written warnings. 

The county says the ordinance is necessary to protect public health and safety, as sprawling encampments have led to unsanitary conditions and increased fire risk. Critics argue the county is trying to “criminalize” homelessness.

The ordinance would apply to unincorporated San Mateo. It must be voted on a second time. If approved at the second reading, it would take effect after 30 days.

Read more at KQED and the San Francisco Chronicle