Los Angeles anti-camping ordinance goes into effect, bans homeless people from parks, school zones
Hoping to quell a rising tide of homeless camps that have become a political lightning rod in the city, an anti-camping ordinance from the city council went into effect today.
The new law prohibits settlements for homeless people in specific areas, such as parks and near schools. However, details of the new ordinance are still being worked out. The selection and treatment of areas where such encampments will be prohibited have yet to be determined. In addition, homeless outreach teams in the area will be required to speak to affected campers before citing them.
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These details mean that the impact of the new law will not be apparent for some time. Yet its implementation is another step in appeasing the community’s growing outrage over a seemingly out of control problem that has gripped many parts of the city.
The main camps in Venice Beach and Echo Park Lake attracted attention, as did the smaller camps in Los Feliz and under highway underpasses. At least one city councilor, Nithya Raman, is the subject of a recall effort for his perceived lack of action on homelessness issues in his district.
“This ordinance, by itself, does not criminalize homelessness. What he does is … [it] creates a new framework to keep portions of our public right-of-way accessible to all, ”said City Councilor Paul Koretz.
City Councilor Mitch O’Farrell, whose office was instrumental in cleaning up the major Echo Park encampment, said in a statement that the ordinance “helps regulate shared public spaces while acting with compassion and determination to help put homeless people on the path to well-being “.
“This ordinance establishes fair and clearly defined rules for how sidewalks in Los Angeles are regulated – while tying those rules to a comprehensive and compassionate strategy for street engagement that will establish reasonable pathways to positive outcomes and , ultimately, permanent homes, ”O’Farrell mentioned.
“Today’s action will ensure sidewalks are passable, fire hydrants are accessible, doors and aisles are clear,” City Councilor Joe Buscaino added in a statement. “It’s a big step in the right direction, but I still don’t think this ordinance is enough. We still have to pass a law that says you cannot camp on the sidewalk if you have been offered accommodation. “
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