LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A controversial city ordinance aimed at keeping Las Vegas streets clean went into effect on Sunday.
Those against the law have called it an attack on the homeless population.
“It’s going to help, but it's going to hurt,” Edwin Fitzgerald Rainey Sr. said. Rainey Sr. has been homeless on and off in Las Vegas.
Empty bags, clothes and other trash are just some of the things the mayor and city council members said they wanted to get off city streets.
“Shopping carts full of stuff - that's too much,” Bruce Blaha said. “It should be clean. I don't think tourists want to come and see that.”
Blaha is homeless but he supports the change, and he said he doesn’t like to live in a mess either.
“Most of them, unfortunately, have become lovers of stuff,” Rainey Sr. said.
The polarizing bill passed earlier in the week. It allows the city to charge people with a misdemeanor if they sit, sleep or obstruct city crews from cleaning the sidewalks during designated times.
“This time they're saying it's a 'street cleaning' bill,” one protestor said outside City Hall. “But we see it for what it is, an anti-homeless ban,” another said.
Those against the bill said it’s just the latest in the city’s attack on those less fortunate. Mayor Carolyn Goodman doubled down, saying she has compassion for the homeless, but she needs to take care of the city as a whole.
She added these ordinances are meant to help the homeless and direct them to the shelters and more resources.
Blaha just came back to Las Vegas. The last time he was here was a decade ago. He said back then it was much easier to live on the streets.
“More laws, which are smart,” Blaha said. “Fremont is a lot cleaner than it was.”
Now Blaha said he only carries the essentials.
“Toilet paper, things like that,” he said. “I got my pajamas to change, pants. I went to church today, some nice clothes like that.”
The rest he stores in a suitcase at a church.
“If they just throw them in jail that's one thing,” he said. “If they try to help them out, that's a different thing.”
If the city wants to help, Blaha said he wanted to see more resources for people like him.
“Some people don't want the help,” he said. “If they don't want the help, then you have to do something about it.”
The city said it is expanding its homeless corridor near Foremaster Lane. Set to break ground later this year, the space will reportedly offer more resources and more beds for people to sleep.
In November, the city passed a similar law creating a misdemeanor to sleep or set up tents in public spaces if there’s enough room at a shelter.
Police are expected to start enforcing the ban on Feb. 1. though details of how enforcement would happen have not been released.