Sanders comes out against Las Vegas proposal to criminalize homelessness

Sanders comes out against Las Vegas proposal to criminalize homelessness

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSinger Neil Young says that America's presidents haven't done enough address climate change New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide MORE (I-Vt.), a 2020 White House hopeful, on Tuesday came out against a proposed city ordinance in Las Vegas that would criminalize homelessness.

“Homelessness isn’t a crime, it’s a symptom of the greed that is destroying housing in America,” Sanders said in a statement. “We are in the middle of a national housing crisis, with Nevada having the greatest shortage of affordable housing for the lowest income earners, while the wealthiest have it all. That has got to change.”

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The Vermont senator also pledged to “stop the criminalization of homelessness” if he is elected president and end the problem altogether by spending $32 billion over five years. 

Sanders said his campaign would utilize its email list to urge residents to attend a rally outside Las Vegas City Hall on Wednesday, when the city council is set to vote on the proposal. It would criminalize camping or sleeping in public areas in parts of the city. 

Under the ordinance, those sleeping on the streets in parts of the city would be charged with a misdemeanor and could receive a fine of up to $1,000, NBC News reported

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said in a statement that the proposal is intended to help direct homeless people to the city's resource center and other nonprofits. 

"The city believes the ordinance will be a benefit to the homeless population, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of the entire community," she said. "The city has always demonstrated compassion for the needs of the growing homeless population, understanding the public safety of everyone is a top priority.”