Tacoma passes new laws targeting homeless in cars, tents

TACOMA, Wash — Lawmakers in Tacoma recently passed new ordinances restricting where and how long homeless people can live in certain spots.

Elected officials declared homelessness an emergency earlier this year and is now following a three-phased approach to deal with the issue.

Part of the plan includes providing basic human services, like fresh water and garbage collection, to city-approved homeless camps.

But now new ordinances limit the amount of time people can sleep in their car – and makes tent camping in public illegal.

One of the new laws now limits the number of days people will be allowed to live in their vehicles. The law also imposes a series of fines that escalate with each infraction.

The other new law prohibits camping in public spaces except where the sites are authorized by the city.

The new laws are an effort by city lawmakers to tackle what’s been described by officials as a public health crisis.