L.A.’s New Homelessness Plan: Ban Camping Near Schools, Daycares

The city of Los Angeles is scrambling to keep up with its growing homeless population, and increasingly leaning on punitive measures in response to the crisis.

2 minute read

June 1, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A homeless encampment fills a sidewalk in front of a Sizzler restaurant advertising Thanksgiving dinner.

A homeless encampment at 4th Street and Vermont, a few blocks away from Virgil Middle School, where parents report the regular occurrence of traumatizing encounters with people experiencing homelessness and students. | MSPhotographic / Shutterstock

“The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday instructed its lawyers to draft a major change to the city’s anticamping ordinance, barring homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers,” report Benjamin Oreskes and David Zahniser for the Los Angeles Times.

The ordinance is in motion after Alberto M. Carvalho, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, urged the City Council to adopt the measure.

According to the article, the ordinance is caught up in the politics of the local election set for June 7. All of the councilmembers currently in contested races for re-election voted in support of the ordinance.

Oreskes and Zahniser also report that the ordinance “would represent a dramatic shift in the city’s approach to homeless encampments, rewriting a key aspect of an ordinance that was finalized only last summer following weeks of contentious debate.”

“The existing anticamping ordinance allows the council to prohibit camping on sidewalks around parks, libraries and schools. However, enforcement cannot occur until the council has reviewed a specific location and voted to give the go-ahead to clear it,” explain Oreskes and Zahniser.

A recent Times investigation revealed uneven enforcement of the measure. Los Angeles, home to the largest population of people experiencing homelessness in the United States, has been struggling to find the resources to support their city’s most vulnerable residents. A controversial decision to forcibly remove a homeless encampment from around Echo Park Lake in spring of 2021 still reverberates through the politics of the city. While the city has made progress in creating tiny home villages for people experiencing homelessness, advocates question the effectiveness and the conditions of the villages.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 in Los Angeles Times

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