LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Homeless camps in Los Angeles are now facing enforcement action after the city council approved 58 anti-camping sites as part of a regulation originally enacted last summer.
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Although it was a big vote on paper on Wednesday, many people are wondering if it will lead to action anytime soon. The process of clearing out camps starts with notifications, then outreach and finally, if all other measures fail, enforcement.
“The homeless are a big problem,” said Todd Stinson, who works near MacArthur Park, part of which was closed in mid-October due to renovations. Out-of-home residents, who at the time lived in tent camps in the park, were offered housing.
As part of the council’s vote today, the sidewalks around the park will also not be accessible for setting up tents.
“I think that would be a positive step,” Stinson said.
“I want to keep our community clean and of course keep a safe environment. In my case, I have children,” said another man.
The Anticamping Order has been a major bureaucratic process. It bans camps from:
Sidewalks and driveways
Highway crossings and collisions
Close to libraries, parks and schools
and in front of homeless shelters
However, each location must first be approved by the council.
Councilor Mike Bonin was one of two council members who voted against approving the banned places.
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“Like our city offices, our shelters suffer from a mass shortage of staff. A much smaller percentage of the out-of-home population than the housed population is already unvaccinated. So it’s especially dangerous to push people into collective shelters,” Bonin said.
Councilman and LA mayoral candidate Kevin de León said that with Omicron cases on the rise, there is little chance of immediate enforcement of the new ordinance.
“We are aware of the rise in Omicron and there will be no enforcement today, tomorrow or the next day. So let’s somehow de-scale the drama that is being introduced,” he said.
Another mayoral candidate, Councilman Joe Buscaino, said there appears to be an endless stream of apologies when it comes to enforcing anti-camping orders.
“There are several excuses for not wanting to help the homeless. Today it’s Omicron. Last month it was that there were not enough supported housing, while a thousand people died in our streets last year,” he said.
Pastor Andy Bales, president and CEO of the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row, has been on the front lines of the homelessness crisis for years.
“I’m glad they’ve made some compromises and more talk and planning about much more outreach, and I think they’re almost getting there. And I know critics say they want more housing. “Not shelter. To tell you the truth, we still lack shelter beds, and I would like to see the city come up with more options for immediate shelter, but perhaps there is also a compromise there,” the pastor said.
Enforcement would only take place after extensive and outreach announcements, which is clearly not a quick fix to a growing crisis.
“I have seen an effort to help improve the situation with the small house projects and the kind of things they have done, but it does not seem that the effort we are making can keep up with the amount of homeless people, that seems to be growing. “said Stinson.
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At present, there is no timeline for when this executive order will take effect, although some of the town halls suggest it may take several weeks.
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