LA Ordinance Restricting Homeless Encampments Took Effect

The ordinance banning homeless encampments in some parts of Los Angeles went into effect on Friday. This is one of the latest tactics used by local officials in their effort to get a hold of the growing number of unhoused in the region. 

The city ordinance will forbid blocking the public’s right of way and storing of properties

The law modifying the anti-camping rule in the city was passed last July. The law forbids blocking the public right of way and storing of property, among other rules. Accordingly, the law will likewise restrict camping and sleeping in particular areas within 500 feet of property that is considered of “sensitive use”.

Included in the list of properties are daycare facilities, schools, libraries, and public parks. Since the city council passed the resolution, they will be posting signage and naming areas for enforcement, as well as giving notice. 

The areas prohibited likewise comprise 500 feet within a designated underpass and overpass. However, the new law provided a 1,000 feet facility that gives sleeping, shelter, navigation centers, or safe parking for homeless persons.

In a joint statement by council president Nury Martinez and Mayor Eric Garcetti, the pair announced the implementation of outside obstacles to the Americans with Disabilities Act (and other accessibility impediments) will not begin until outreach to the homeless happened. This includes connecting homeless people with housing and services. 

Los Angeles will keep public spaces safe and clean, combining housing and assistance that homeless persons need

The statement says the city does not have to choose between keeping public spaces clean and safe vs. meeting Los Angeles residents’ needs for housing and services. As Los Angeles responds to the crisis, they can and will do both.

This will happen in a way that is responsive and compassionate to the urgent needs of the Los Angeles community. On the other hand, opponents of the ordinance argue that the law technically criminalizes being homeless.

However, supporters of the law state that it gives the homeless the important services they need. This happens while also fighting against the quality of life issues that have outraged business owners and residents in certain communities. 

A motion from the city council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee was advanced in order to approve recommendations for strategy in street engagement; this will go together with the city ordinance.

Mark Ridley Thomas is the chairman of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee. Thomas stated on Thursday that they will only be able to give housing and assistance if skilled outreach workers are able to engage effectively in the strategy.

The city council should therefore act promptly as time is of the essence. Time will tell what this new law ultimately means for Los Angeles residents.