Salinas works on new homeless camping ordinance

SALINAS, Calif. - Restricting how long homeless people sleep in public areas in Salinas is something the City Council is considering making law. 

The new rules would also look at how cleanups are done in areas like Chinatown and Natividad Creek.

The city of Salinas is trying to freshen up the laws that relate to the homeless. Though there wasn't a vote, the city council is looking at a new ordinance.

It would allow homeless people to sleep on public property between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and then let them store some of their stuff.

Some in Chinatown see it as a compromise.

"We're finally all coming together, trying to work together for the solution," said Chinatown resident Diana Blaylock.

With a hepatitis A outbreak affecting many homeless across California, the city wants to avoid that here.

The new rules would also give them 48 hours to clear out before a cleanup. 

"At least they're letting us know, they're not just sneaking around and coming attacking us," Blaylock.

In Chinatown alone crews removed 10 tons of trash just weeks ago and it's not the only part of town to see massive clean-ups. Crews also picked up dozens of needles in Natividad Creek. In total, more than 400 tons of garbage from homeless encampments around the city was cleared over the last year. 

It may not get everyone's support, but some are grateful something is being done.

"People are going to have to learn to adjust to it," Blaylock said.

There's already money in the budget to deal with homeless encampments and that's where money to enforce these new rules will come from.

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