Commentary: Camps for homeless are no solution

Some will dismiss Mayor Kevin Johnson's night with the homeless this week as a political stunt. After all, he was followed by television cameras as he rolled out his sleeping bag and bedded down for the night with a group of illegal campers. But the mayor's actions demonstrate that he is serious about this issue.

"It was a heart-wrenching experience," Johnson told Fox 40 News "It made me even more committed to fight for their cause."

Johnson has long supported the concept of "safe ground," a legally sanctioned campground somewhere in the city where the homeless could camp overnight without fear of being rousted by police.

The task force on homelessness Johnson assembled has drawn up plans for "Stepping Stone," a campground that could accommodate 60 homeless campers and offer basic amenities, including running water and garbage pickup. The camp would be governed by the homeless with the help of social workers and would ban drug use, alcohol and violence. Campers could stay no longer than 18 months.

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