Mayor Steinberg’s ‘Right to Shelter’ Plan Causing Some Debate

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SACRAMENTO — Sacramento’s mayor has a new idea to help get more homeless people off the streets.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg is calling for California to establish a legal “right to shelter” for homeless people up and down the state.

He pushed that idea in an op-ed published in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times.

Steinberg wants California to require cities to offer the homeless places to stay.

Under his plan, homeless people camping outdoors would be obligated to come inside and stay in those facilities when invited.

But, this proposal is raising eyebrows in legal circles.

“What we do is we make them go to prison but they get a trial etc. What the mayor’s trying to do is get these people to go where he wants — without due process,” attorney Richard Lewis said.

Attorneys say the mayor might be able to get around a constitutional challenge but he’d need to make a case that the obligation to accept shelter was designed to combat a significant public health issue.

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