ROANOKE, Va. – People experiencing homelessness may soon be banned from sleeping on sidewalks in downtown Roanoke because of a proposed ordinance presented at a Roanoke Council meeting.
The council is scheduled to vote on Monday. The ordinance would make camping on public sidewalks in downtown Roanoke a Class 4 misdemeanor. While several complaints from residents sparked the proposal, others are against it.
“Our question for the Roanoke City Council is how does criminalizing homelessness help to assist those who struggle to find a home? Not only would this camping ban make it more difficult to be homeless than it already is, but it does nothing to solve the problem of homelessness in the area,” said Dominic Harden, a member of the Roanoke Tenants’ Union.
The Tenants’ Union also has a concern for homeless shelter safety and lack of a support system for those looking for housing.