Venice is struggling to deal with growing homeless encampments throughout the neighborhood, particularly along Third Avenue between Sunset and Rose Avenues. In response to the concern of locals, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, who represents the district, has assembled an FAQ to lay out the facts about what the city can and can't do to address the issue. According to the FAQ, shared by blog Yo! Venice!, homeless encampments began springing up last year mostly along Ocean Front Walk. That changed in February, "when the Los Angeles Police Department and the Department of Recreation & Parks began enforcing a curfew at Venice Beach," which led to new encampments on Third Avenue and on the Venice Boulevard median near the Abbot Kinney Memorial Library.
In the FAQ, Councilmember Rosendahl says that the city is doing everything it its power to limit the negative impacts of the encampments: "We have stepped up law enforcement with the LAPD. We have increased street cleanings with the Bureau of Street Services and other agencies. We have increased social services through People Assisting the Homeless and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA)." And the LAPD has stepped in: "officers have made more than 100 arrests for a variety of offenses, from outstanding warrants to drug charges to violent crime."
The city is limited in its ability to remove encampments by a pair of court cases that sprang from an LAPD crack down on homeless encampments in Skid Row back in the aughts (remember the Safer Cities Initiative?). The first case is known as Jones v. City of Los Angeles: "On October 15, 2007, the City entered into a legally binding settlement, agreeing not to enforce the law prohibiting sleeping on the streets, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. until it builds 1,250 units of permanent supportive housing."
The result of the second case, Lavan v. City of Los Angeles, was a restraining order "prohibiting the City from seizing or destroying property from homeless camps in downtown's Skid Row. This means the City can only remove abandoned property." The City is currently appealing the Lavan case. According to the Los Angeles Housing Department, the City needs to construct several hundred more units before it meets the requirements of the settlement for the Jones case. Image via Venice-MarVista Patch
· Bill Rosendahl Responds to Third Ave Encampment Questions [Yo! Venice!]
· L.A. Times Editorial Urges Compromise Over Venice Homeless Cleanups [Venice-MarVista Patch]
· Will Boardwalk Crackdowns Turn Venice Into Santa Monica? [Curbed LA]