During a city council meeting that had to pause while police cleared the room of activists opposing the measure, the council voted to ban public sleeping within 500 feet of schools, making one-fifth of city sidewalks off-limits to unhoused people.
In a move that opposing councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson called “an inhumanity that is beneath the citizens of this city,” the Los Angeles city council voted 11-3 to impose stricter regulations on public sleeping. As David Zahniser and Benjamin Oreskes report in the Los Angeles Times, “Under the new restrictions, people would be prohibited from sitting, sleeping, lying or storing property within 500 feet of every public and private school, not just the few dozen selected by the council over the last year.”
Councilmember Mike Bonin, who also voted against the restrictions, “said city leaders should devote their energy instead toward improving programs that aid homeless Angelenos, such as those that help people with housing vouchers secure an apartment.” The new restrictions are supported by Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, as well as groups of parents and school staff.
“Foes of the proposal have repeatedly argued the council’s restrictions would effectively outlaw poverty, leading to the deaths of homeless Angelenos.” Supportive services organizations say displacing people experiencing homelessness will make it harder for people to access services and for outreach staff to establish trust within the community.
Meanwhile, the city is gradually shutting down Project Roomkey, which converted hundreds of hotel rooms into temporary shelter housing during the pandemic.
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