Officials have put into effect Friday a broad ordinance banning homeless and sleeping encampments in Los Angeles. This is the latest strategy to curb the growing number of unhoused residents in the area.
The City Council approved the measure in July, which modified the anti-camping ordinance. It prohibits property storage and obstruction of the public right-of way, among other things.
Once the council adopts a resolution, it will prohibit camping and sleeping in areas less than 500 feet from property that is deemed "sensitive use." This includes schools, daycare facilities, parks, libraries, and other public buildings.
These areas include 500 feet of a designated underpass, overpass, subway, and 1,000 feet of facilities that were opened after January 1, 2018, that provide shelter, safe sleeping, or navigation centers for homeless people.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Nury Martinez, the council president, said that enforcement of the Americans with Disability Act and other accessibility obstacles won't start until outreach has been done to the homeless, which will include housing and services.
They stated that they don't have to choose between keeping public spaces clean and connecting Angelenos who are homeless with the housing and services they require. "We can and we will do both, provided that we respond to the crisis compassionately and sensitively to the immediate needs of our communities."
Opponents claim the ordinance criminalizes homelessness. It will provide vital services to the homeless and address quality of life concerns that have upset residents and business owners in certain communities.
The City Council's Homelessness and Poverty Committee and its Energy Climate Change, Environmental Justice and River Committee advanced a motion to approve recommendations for a Street Engagement Strategy to accompany the ordinance, City News Service reported.
"We won't be able provide the housing and services needed if trusted and skilled outreaches workers are able engage -- and this strategy the roadmap to do it and do it well," Mark Ridley Thomas, Councilman and Chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee said Thursday. The City Council must quickly adopt the Street Engagement Strategy.