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Post Criticizing Manteca Homeless Ban Goes Viral

by Melinda Maza for KCRA Channel 3

MANTECA, Calif. (KCRA) —Manteca city leaders are receiving pressure to ease up on homeless restrictions after a post from a Facebook group went viral.

Thousands of people have already complained about the new ordinance that restricts homeless people from sleeping anywhere outdoors in Manteca.

“They are persecuting us because (of) unemployment and our economic situation,” said Mario Acosta.

Acosta says he is not a criminal, but does sleep in a park in Manteca.

In less than three weeks, Acosta and other homeless people could be arrested for sleeping anywhere outdoors in Manteca's city limits.

“Throw us in jail for what, not having a place to go?” said Jamie Escobar.

Within days of the city passing the new law, a Facebook post from a group called "Brave New Films: Justice" went viral.

Nearly 4,000 people have shared the post.

“Just because you are homeless doesn’t mean you are a bad person. You could be down-and-out on your luck. Get the resources you need to move on and be a productive citizen. The ones that chose that lifestyle become a criminal element that diminish the quality of life in Manteca," Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion said.

A petition called "End Homeless Hate" is now circulating. On the petition are the phone numbers for city's mayor and Obligacion.

The city said the ban will prevent safety hazards like open fires and environmental impacts like improper disposal of solid waste and public health issues.

The city said it plans on working with local agencies to get those who are homeless the resources they need.