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San Diego restored its ability Tuesday to prohibit homeless people from living in cars on city streets with a new law that local police say they plan to use only as a last resort. Supporters of the law say a crackdown is necessary because San Diego’s beach communities have been flooded with homeless people living in cars since a federal judge ruled a previous version of the law was too vague last summer. Citations can’t be written under the new law unless people living in cars refuse to move to one of several “safe” parking lots in the city, and police say they will issue warnings for first offenses and carefully evaluate each situation before writing a ticket. Critics say the new law will unnecessarily criminalize homelessness, punish people already struggling to turn their lives around and further deepen the local cycle of poverty.

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