Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti might begin reinforcing a ban on sleeping overnight on sidewalks, the Los Angeles Times reports.
He told the newspaper that the law—which hasn’t been enforced since 2007— is “a tool that we have before us, that we can and will use.”
His deputy chief of staff, Matt Szabo, says the goal is to clean up areas around where new shelters have been built, “not to resume arrests.”
City officials once used a 1968 law that prohibits sleeping on the street as justification for arresting homeless people, especially in and around Skid Row.
In 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city on behalf of a group of homeless people for the practice, arguing it was inhumane to arrest people sleeping on the street when they had no other option. Four years later, the city agreed to a settlement that required it to build 1,250 units of homeless housing, half of which needed to be in Downtown.
Now that the requirement has been met, and at least 1,500 more units are on the way, Garcetti tells the LA Times that the city might enforce the law again.
There are more than 31,500 homeless residents living in the city of Los Angeles, and 6,473 people live in tents and makeshift shelters, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. An additional 8,980 people live in cars, vans, and campers; the city has rules against that too.
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the city of Los Angeles has fewer than 8,000 shelter beds to serve the homeless population. A KPCC report last month found that many of those shelters are in poor and unsanitary conditions.
Read the full story at the LA Times.
- Garcetti says L.A. can resume disputed ban on overnight sidewalk sleeping [Los Angeles Times]
- LA’s homeless population is finally falling [Curbed LA]
- Homelessness in LA [Curbed LA]