SAN DIEGO, CA - April 12, 2023 — Today, in advance of the consideration by San Diego City Council Members of a proposed encampment ban, Alliance San Diego is releasing new maps that show the impact of the ban on the unhoused community. The maps, commissioned by Alliance San Diego, and based on the proposed ban, mark the areas that the City would exclude homeless community members from sleeping and living. As indicated by the maps, the result of the proposed ban would be to almost entirely shut out unhoused people from the city. This is the epitome of cruelty and violates basic human rights.
The first map shows the areas where the proposed ban would exclude unhoused people from living and sleeping at all times (near schools, shelters, open spaces, transit, and designated parks) and would be in effect regardless of whether there are shelter alternatives available. The second map shows these same areas and adds in areas that are already off limits because they are private property (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, military property). For people with no housing, that leaves only public property, but according to the proposed policy, that too would be banned if shelter is available (even if it is inadequate). This full ban is shown in the third map and would mean pushing the unhoused community out of the city almost entirely. This policy is devoid of compassion and lacks consideration for human rights and human dignity.
Link to Maps: Map 1, Map 2, Map 3
In 1948, seventy five years ago, the world of nations signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognizing the human dignity of all people, and calling on all signatory nations, including the United States, to aspire to protect fundamental human rights. These rights include the right to adequate housing (Article 25), which was acknowledged in January by the San Diego City Council. Fundamental human rights also include the right to be free of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 5). These rights are at risk in the proposed encampment ban.
Although the City of San Diego has made strides in providing housing and temporary shelter for the unhoused community, that shelter is woefully inadequate. On any given day, only a handful of shelter beds become available when there are thousands of people who need them. While nobody knows for sure how many unhoused San Diegans there are, the ratio of available shelter spots to demand for them, may be 1 to 100, which is a devastating gap that leaves unhoused men, women, and children with few options.
Despite this severe shortage of temporary shelter, and more severe shortage of housing, City Council is considering an encampment ban that does nothing to address the need, and instead criminalizes the most vulnerable San Diegans. It is cruel, it is inhuman, and it is degrading to punish people simply for their condition of being unhoused. This is not a solution.
We call upon the San Diego City Council to protect human rights and uphold the dignity of all San Diegans regardless of their housing status. Alliance San Diego stands ready to support real solutions to address the housing and shelter shortage, and to help lift all community members out of poverty.
Alliance San Diego invites community members to share their thoughts with the San Diego City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee at their meeting Thursday, April 13, 2023, at 1 pm. Public comment can be made in writing or in person.
About Alliance San Diego
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.