I don’t believe the Los Angeles City Council’s new anti-camping law is a hasty attempt to keep the homeless out of sight. I personally believe it was a last-ditch effort to convince residents that council members were listening to their concerns about the proliferation of tents on sidewalks.
They seem to understand that prohibiting camping near schools, childcare facilities, fire hydrants, and other specified areas of communities would not address the problem of homelessness. The council also passed a motion two days before the vote containing a resolution, largely drafted by Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, to create and implement an extensive street outreach effort to get homeless people into housing or shelter — or start the process — before the anti-camping rules take effect. But in the meantime fear off the police may send them camping in your neighborhood.
The issue is that there are an estimated 41,000 homeless individuals in Los Angeles. Even with current efforts throughout council districts to locate motel and hotel rooms, construct permanent homes, and establish small towns, there is still a shortage of shelter and accommodation. That implies that, regardless of how effectively the law is enforced, homeless individuals will be driven from one area to the next. The law would have originally made any infraction of the regulations a misdemeanor.
Thomas convinced the city council to change the law to make it a crime only if a homeless camper refuses to leave an off-limits location. However, even if someone leaves voluntarily, they may be charged with an infraction — and a fee — for being there in the first place. Why make it an infraction in the first place?
Councilmembers The only people who voted against the anti-camping law were Mike Bonin and Nithia Raman. That’s what I’d call compassionate. I’m sure some of their colleagues and constituents would think it’s a bad idea. Even if you disagree with their decision, it’s worth hearing what Bonin had to say about why he voted no — and how it feels to be homeless, since he was once homeless.
“What we are doing today tells people that are unhoused and have no place to go where they cannot sleep. But it does not tell them where they can sleep,” Bonin shared in a council meeting.
The council’s job is to locate or build additional home or shelter that provides individuals with some privacy and security. The council members may then circle all of the locations where homeless individuals are unable to sleep. These locations seem to be fancy touristy areas. The only place that may be left to camp after the new maps might be your neighborhood.