Homeless speak out against police crackdown
February 23, 2012
By SYDNEY RAY
About a dozen homeless residents spoke out at the San Luis Obispo City Council meeting last Tuesday against a recent crackdown by police who have ticketed people sleeping overnight in their vehicles.
Homeless residents such as Karen Frickel said they feel singled out by law enforcement who bang on their cars, wake them up and then ticket them for camping.
“We’re not camping, we’re living,” Frickel said.
As of Jan. 26, 2011, there were an estimated 3,774 homeless living in vehicles, tents and on the streets of SLO. Of those, reports show as many as 40 percent work at least 20 hours per week.
City Manager Katie Lichtig said the law enforcement crackdown is most likely the result of complaints from residents about people parking overnight on Prado Road and Long Street.
Councilman Andrew carter said a number of the complaints are from people who work at the Prado Day Center and other local companies.
“We have a number of laws which are not with respect to dealing with the homeless population but with regard to people parking on the streets,” Carter said. “The 72 hour parking law, well sometimes people will park a boat or a trailer on the streets and over the years people have complained. The laws don’t originally exist dealing with the homeless population. The police department has gotten more active in enforcing these laws because of citizens’ complaints. Most recently many homeless have been parking near the Prado Day Center”