LA City Council

LA City Council Votes to Ban Homeless Encampments Near Schools

LA City Council revoted on a measure that would ban homeless encampments near schools.

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The LA City Council is expected to ban homeless encampments near schools Tuesday in a revote.

This issue has been a heated and controversial issue. Protestors and homeless advocates shut down last week's meeting.

Enforcement is going to be the biggest problem said the LA City Council President, Nury Martinez. She also says that more outreach workers would have to be hired to help with the enforcement.

Homeless advocates shouted down speakers who are in the favor of the ban at last week's meeting expressing their concerns that the ban would not help end homelessness in LA.

LAPD was eventually called to clear the floor as the council finished the meeting and voted on the measure.

"We don't want to move people block by block," said Lorenzo Defelitta an individual who opposes the ban. "We want to get people off the streets into permanent housing."

The vote came down 11-3 and a similar result is expected to come Tuesday.

The ban would regulate and prohibit homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycares in the city.

Because last week's vote was not unanimous the council will have to vote again.

If passed this ban would be an amendment to the city's law that regulates homeless encampments and prohibits them in rights of way in certain parts of the city.

Opponents say it does nothing to help solve the root problem of homelessness.

"Okay they tell us where we can't be so tell us where we can be," said another individual.

If the ban passes it would become law in 30 days.

What does LA's city ordinance say about homeless encampments?

The amendment expands locations where camping and sleeping are banned, regardless of whether the areas have been designated for enforcement.

Those areas include within 2 feet of any fire hydrant or fire plug; within 5 feet of any operational or utilizable entrance or exit; within 10 feet of a loading dock or driveway; in a manner that interferes with any activity for which the city has issued a permit or restricts accessible passage as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act; or anywhere within a street, including bike paths.

The law also already protected the public right of way within 500 feet of schools, day care facilities, parks and libraries -- but only if each specific location is designated by the council for enforcement.

The amendment is a blanket ban on encampments within 500 feet of all schools and daycare centers.

The city ordinance also prohibits encampments and sleeping within:

  • Up to 500 feet of a designated overpass, underpass, freeway ramp, tunnel, bridge, pedestrian bridge, subway, wash or spreading ground, railroad track or where lodging unsheltered or in tents is unhealthy, unsafe and incompatible with safe passage.
  • Up to 1,000 feet of a facility opened after Jan. 1, 2018, that provides shelter, safe sleeping, safe parking or navigation centers for persons experiencing homelessness.

The ordinance also allows the city to prevent encampments for a period of no longer than one year in areas that are deemed an ongoing threat to public health or safety, including due to:

  • Death or serious bodily injury of any person at the location due to a hazardous condition.
  • Repeated serious or violent crimes or threats of serious or violent crimes, including human trafficking.
  • Fires at the location.

People who violate the ordinance face an infraction or citation.

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