Yes, the city of San Luis Obispo has an ordinance prohibiting people from sleeping in their vehicle on city streets at night (“You can’t go home, and you can’t stay here,” Feb. 23).
Yes, city police officers have a job to do to uphold the law.
As a 10-year member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, San Luis Obispo County, my concern is for both the safety of the officers and the good of the homeless folks sleeping in their vehicles. If a person is so dead asleep in their vehicle and a police officer bangs on the vehicle and shakes it and shines a flashlight in the occupant’s eyes, under certain circumstances a tragedy could occur. The person who is so suddenly awakened might be so frightened and try to attack the officer, thinking that he was being attacked by someone else.
The 12 folks who appeared before and spoke to the SLO City Council on Feb. 21 were polite, articulate, neat, and well groomed. I was very impressed by the woman who had lost her job and lost her home. She had worked and lived in San Luis Obispo for 30 years and now had to sleep in her car! All she wanted was to have a job and get back into the mainstream.
The newly proposed homeless shelter needs to be built now in order to take care of our own, such as the woman who worked here and probably paid taxes here for 30 years and is now homeless and forced to sleep in her vehicle.
The city and county have had 25 years to solve the homeless problem. It appears that we are still at square one.