Las Vegas passes controversial homeless ordinance

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KSNV/NBC News) – The Las Vegas City Council voted in favor of an ordinance that makes it illegal to sleep on the street.

The newly-approved ordinance allows police officers to fine homeless people $1,000. First, however, officers are required to offer people sleeping on the street a ride to an open shelter bed. If no shelter beds are available that night, no homeless person will be cited for camping outside.

There are an estimated 5,000 homeless people in the valley, with about 1,300 shelter beds available. The Las Vegas courtyard facility can help about 300 on any given night, but opponents say there is simply not enough cheap shelter for the homeless to live, and that current living conditions in the existing shelters are inhumane, and even if there is room, they’re hard to get into.

On the other end, people in favor of the ordinance said the homeless using city sidewalks as toilets give the city the public safety license to pass it.

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