The city's policy and services committee is set to decide on an ordinance that would ban people from living in their vehicles within Palo Alto's limits.
The Policy and Services Committee last month directed city staff to draft an ordinance to ban vehicle dwelling to face the growing number of homeless people sleeping overnight in Palo Alto, particularly at Cubberley Community Center.
If the committee approves the ordinance tonight, the city council will vote on it after its month-long break.
The purpose of the ordinance would be to provide police with an enforcement tool they don't currently possess -- generally officers would not self-initiate contact with vehicle dwellers and will instead primarily respond to resident complaints for violations of the ordinance.
Staff stressed that ordinance should be implemented in a manner that is both "empathetic and thorough," using "a robust notification program through vehicles and fliers to known vehicle dwellers."
The department would allow for 60 days of "education, outreach and transition" and for 30 days after that period would give warnings.
The ordinance would also include personal outreach by social services workers to known vehicle dwellers.
Police Chief Dennis Burns said that in 2010, police had been summoned to Cubberley for complaints involving vehicle dwellers 10 times. The number went up to 16 in 2011 and to 39 last year. So far this year, police have made at least nine contacts with homeless dwellers at Cubberley.
Last week, police arrested Marcelo Martinez, a 23-year-old homeless man, at Cubberley for beating another man with his fists until the man lost consciousness.