San Luis Obispo City Council candidate Matt Strzepek held a candlelight vigil on the front steps of City Hall on Tuesday night to show support for people living in their vehicles on city streets. Strzepek lit 74 candles, which he said represented the 740 people who take shelter in their cars because they have nowhere else to go.
“Homelessness is not going to go away. Not this year, not in 10 years,” said Strzepek during public comment at the City Council meeting Tuesday night. “As such, I am asking this council to allow overnight parking at interested businesses and houses of worship in addition to designated city parks located away from residences and businesses. Furthermore, I am requesting that some bathrooms remain accessible overnight.”
Strzepek recently filed a complaint against the police department alleging that he was harassed for being homeless.
Signs at the vigil protested a recent ordinance adopted by the City Council with a 3-2 vote that prohibits people from sleeping in their vehicles on all city streets and parking areas form 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.