ST. JOSEPH — St. Joseph has barred camping in most parks and public spaces after getting complaints about homeless people sleeping under a bridge.

The St. Joseph News-Press reports that Mayor Bill McMurray says the measure approved Monday is "not meant to hurt anybody." He says the city wants to encourage those in need to take advantage of shelters and other services because officials "don't want people out there getting hurt, especially now that winter is coming along." Under the ordinance, camping is allowed in public places only if the city or the Missouri Department of Conservation say it's OK.

Similar bans have been approved elsewhere, including this week in Las Vegas. Critics decried that measure as a "war on the poor," while supporters say it's necessary to deal with a homeless crisis.

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