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Santa Clarita Cracks Down On Homeless In Public Places

SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) — Santa Clarita is about to launch a big crackdown on its homeless population.

As CBSLA's Crystal Cruz reports, the City of Santa Clarita has approved an ordinance making it illegal to use a car as a home, camp, sit or lie down in public or face fines.

That could make life more difficult for Matthew Medina, who every night sleeps in the front seat of his truck.

"It's more comfortable than sleeping on the concrete," said Medina. "Rent is high to be honest in Santa Clarita. The cheapest room is $800 a month and that's pretty pricey to be honest."

According to the city, law enforcement received an increase in calls about homeless camps and homeless issues in public spaces.

"I just think that we should have designated areas for these people because it's getting outta control," said neighbor Shawn Hannah. "They're taking over going where they want and to me it looks bad."

According to a city spokesperson, the city bought land to build a year round permanent shelter and the goal is to let the homeless know there are services available to them now like Bridge To Home.

"I feel bad for them because they're out in the streets but they need a place they really do," said neighbor Nancy Hannah.

For men like Joe, who works part time but doesn't make enough for rent he doesn't want to be told where to sleep.

"When I get tired from being beat on the street. I got to sleep somewhere. I just go to sleep where I can," said Joe.

Pete White From Los Angeles Community Action Network sent us a statement that reads in part:

"The broad set of rules targeting homeless individuals living in Santa Clarita is nothing short of a lawsuit in search of a Plaintiff. Willful defiance of constitutional protections is the only way enforcement can occur and it still will not achieve the desired outcome. The only way to fix homelessness is by providing permanent housing, not shelters."

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