FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Schools, childcare facilities, parks, libraries, and city-permitted shelters for the unhoused are what the city of Fresno calls “sensitive areas.”

Sidewalks and entrances of those areas must now be open and clear.

On a five-to-one vote, the Fresno City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting encampments of unhoused people within 500 feet of those entrances.

The ordinance does not criminalize the encampments but allows for police, code enforcement, or homeless outreach workers to ask people to move.

Homeless advocates are not happy about the potential repercussions. Some spoke before Thursday’s council vote. 

“This is almost like a gang working and operating like a gang. There are so many people you’re upending inalienable constitutional rights,” said Wes White of the Salinas/Monterey County Homeless Union. 

“Really what this feels like is an attack on the homeless. Especially with the draconian weather that we have. It feels like well, it’s true that the unhoused are going to die,” said Smiley G, a council district seven resident. 

The ordinance was drafted by council members Garry Bredefeld and Miguel Arias. Arias indicating clearing the entrances makes them more easily accessible to people with disabilities.

Annalisa Perea of district one was the only council member to vote against the ordinance.