Nevada City Police Chief James Wickham has come up with an unusual way to curtail the city’s growing homeless population: make homelessness illegal. The chief has asked the city council to pass a no-camping ordinance that bans people from sleeping rough unless they hold a proper permit.
“The goal is to start managing the homeless population within our city,” Wickham told a local CBS affiliate. “It just basically means you can’t set up a tent. You can’t live in your vehicle. You can’t live in the woods in Nevada City.”
Wickham, who counts at least 60 homeless people in Nevada City and up to 500 in the surrounding county of the same name, plans to give out six to 10 camping permits initially. If the city council approves the ordinance, any homeless person found sleeping in public without a permit will be given a place to sleep—in the county jail.