LA Moves To Limit Homeless Camping: What You Need To Know

In a move that surprised some, Los Angeles City Council is moving ahead with a new anti-camping ordinance as the city faces increasing pressure to take more action on the homelessness crisis.

Here is a breakdown of the basics that could be voted on as early as Thursday.

The main points

The regulation would:

  • Allow city council to restrict sleeping, lying down, and storing items near a variety of public places, including highways and homeless shelters
  • Prohibit tents and camps from blocking sidewalks in such a way that wheelchair users cannot ride on them, in violation of federal law on Americans with disabilities.
  • Prohibit people from sitting, sleeping, or storing items on a public street or sidewalk that are within 1.5 m of a usable entrance to a building or within 3 m of a driveway
  • Request a 14 day notice with signs in an area saying that camping is prohibited in a certain location and try to get homeless people to volunteer to abide by it.
  • Prohibit sleeping and camping near licensed schools, preschools, and daycare centers.
  • Encourage the city to create a “street engagement strategy” within 30 days that limits law enforcement interactions with the homeless, except in specific cases, such as road traffic. B. when a crime is committed.
  • Empower the council to ban camping in locations that pose a continuing threat to public safety due to fire, violent crime, or other dangerous conditions.

What supporters say

By 12 votes to 3, council members on Tuesday called on city lawyers to swiftly draft a law.

Proponents of the proposed regulation called it a humane alternative to the previous measure, saying it would limit law enforcement involvement and seek to get homeless people to voluntarily adhere to it, with the city relying heavily on outreach teams.

Alderman Mark Ridley-Thomas said these teams would offer overnight accommodation, temporary housing or permanent housing before the city enforces its anti-camping restrictions. “There are right and wrong ways to disrupt the status quo and improve conditions on the road,” he said.

Supporters of the measure also say it will help Angelenos reclaim public spaces currently occupied by tents, furniture or other belongings.

“They want to be able to use their parks and sidewalks and their libraries,” said City Councilor Paul Krekorian, who co-authored the proposal. “You want to be able to go into the entrance of your shop. They want to know that when they drive into a parking lot they don’t have to worry about running over someone when they drive through the driveway. “

What critics say

Councilor Mike Bonin said the city still lacks the 20,000 beds it needs to protect its homeless population, arguing that a map should first be presented to the council showing where sleeping and camping are still allowed are.

“I don’t want people to live in our parks. I don’t want people to live on bike paths, ”said Bonin, who represents the coastal district. “But if we say no to that, then we have to say where people can go.”

Lawyer Carol Sobel, a long-time defender of the rights of the homeless, is also against it.

“If they could find people to live safely in that they didn’t camp, they wouldn’t need these ordinances,” she said. “But they are so focused on making homelessness a criminal matter that they cannot think of positive ways to address this problem.”

What’s next

City lawyers are now working on the draft law, which is expected to be voted on Thursday.

Unless the vote on Thursday is unanimous, the proposed regulation would require a second vote. The next council meeting will take place at the end of July.

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