BREAKING: 160+ Academic Researchers Send Letter Condemning San Diego City Council’s Proposed Homeless Encampment Ban

SAN DIEGO — Today, over 160 scholars and educators from the San Diego region sent a letter to San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and the San Diego City Council condemning a proposed homeless encampment ban targeting homeless community members that would leave them with nowhere to go and effectively push them out of the city. The letter was signed by scholars and educators from the region’s major colleges and universities, across multiple disciplines.

The letter calls for the Mayor and City Council to rescind the proposed ban, and instead engage in data-driven decision-making to address the issue of homelessness. The scholars and educators outline well established data and research to expose the harm the ban will cause. Among other things, the letter demonstrates that:

  • The proposed homeless encampment ban will not solve homelessness. Criminalization and policing will only push homeless San Diegans further away from outreach and services.


  • The proposed ban will harm public health. Moving people away from social and resource networks will increase the risk of infectious disease transmission due to even more restricted access to public restrooms. This will exacerbate the already increasing number of Hepatitis A cases amongst the unhoused community.


  • The proposed ban will be expensive to enforce. It will lead to an increase in taxpayer costs due to more hospitalizations, and litigation when the constitutionality of the ban is challenged.


  • Criminalization will deepen poverty for those experiencing homelessness. Due to lack of housing and shelter space, individuals will not be able to comply with the ban and will subsequently face tickets they cannot pay and arrests.

The scholars and educators add their voices to the chorus of opposition, which already includes unhoused community members and major stakeholders like Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego, San Diego Housing Federation, LISC San Diego, Dreher Law Firm, National Lawyers Guild, as well as the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness, Alliance San Diego, and Think Dignity

Given the lack of available shelter and housing, the focus of city officials should be on providing it. What exists and what has been proposed is nowhere near enough. The letter from scholars and educators sent today elevates the fact that in a typical week, nearly two thirds of shelter referrals by outreach workers and police in the City of San Diego aren’t fulfilled. On any given day, the major shelters in the City of San Diego are almost near capacity, with few beds available for those wanting to leave the street. The number of people seeking homelessness services far outpaces those finding homes. In fact in April 2023, 1,141 San Diegans became homeless for the first time, while only 714 exited homelessness. 

The San Diego Union Tribune Editorial Board had previously described the proposed homeless encampment ban as “a hollow gesture” and doubled down on its condemnation of the ban this last Sunday. It referenced maps presented by Alliance San Diego that demonstrate how the policy would give unsheltered San Diegans almost nowhere to go within the city when shelter beds were available. The UT Editorial Board laid out what the taxpayers should deserve and expect for policy makers: “coherent, carefully considered policies”. 

As made clear in the letter submitted today, over 160 scholars and educators in the region are disappointed with the policymaking that led to the proposed homeless encampment ban. They call upon the Mayor and City Council to rescind the proposed ban and instead explore evidence-driven alternatives that center dignity and focus on housing first.

Read the letter here



Alliance San Diego is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) community organization that is building collective power to create a more inclusive democracy, one where all people can participate with dignity in an environment of harmony, safety, equality and justice. We pursue this mission by developing leaders, engaging the community, advocating for policies, communicating strategically, and protecting human rights.