In the age of social media, no policy is local. The City of Manteca learned that the hard way this week after new rules on homeless encampments captured international attention—and ire.
City Manager Karen McLaughlin says she alone has received over a dozen phone calls from people as far as Alberta, Canada, protesting recent ordinances approved by the city council. The new rules, which passed by a unanimous vote last week, make it illegal to set up makeshift shelters on either public or private property within the city. The council also passed a local ordinance aimed at strengthening enforcement of public urination and defecation rules.
The criticism began after an activist group brought attention to the new ordinances on their Facebook page. By Monday, there had been 3,155 shares.
Manteca’s new policies have earned their fair share of local criticism as well. Planning Commission member Leonard Smith asked the council to delay approval, calling the move premature. According to Smith, the new ordinances make it nearly impossible for homeless individuals to find a place to sleep in Manteca. He also worries that the new rules could open the city up to potential lawsuits.
Manteca’s new homeless encampment policies are scheduled to go into effect on December 4.
Read more about the ordinances here.