The Tacoma City Council approved an ordinance on Tuesday banning camping on public property in an effort to address public health and safety concerns at unauthorized encampments.
The ordinance will expire on Oct. 9 at 11:59 p.m. unless the council extends it.
Daytime shades and picnicking are still allowed under the ordinance.
Supporters of the ordinance say the new rule focuses on the 10 or 15 percent of the homeless population considered quote "bad actors" -- drug users, people who get into fights.
Deputy Mayor Robert Thoms, who sponsored the ordinance, says before its passage, police had no choice but to just 'move people along.'
Now, police have a choice when they see someone commit this misdeamor: recommend them to a center to get services, write them a ticket -- up to $1,000 -- or send the person to jail for up to 90 days.
The city opened a temporary emergency shelter in June as part of a three-phase plan to combat homelessness. The phase two stability site can house over 80 people and is expected to be open for the next six months. Phase three includes long term housing options.
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