Policy on Living in Vehicles Extended by L.A. City Council

policy to allow people sleeping in cars extended by city council

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A law that regulates where people are allowed to live in their vehicles in Los Angeles is set to expire, but the City Council agreed today to extend it by six months as work continues to improve the regulations.

It was illegal for decades to live in a vehicle in the city until a 2014 federal court ruling struck down the ban. The City Council then drafted a law that made it illegal to live in a vehicle in residential neighborhoods or near sensitive locations such as parks and schools.

The council voted in June to extend the law by six months, and officials said at the time they were looking for ways to improve it. With a January expiration on the horizon, the City Council voted 14-0 to have the City Attorney's Office draft an ordinance which would extend the policy for another six months.

Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, said last week that details of a new policy are still being worked out.

“Lots of members have lots of additions they want to make, and a lot of those things are under consideration at this time, and we just weren't finished considering it and we had to do the extension,” Harris-Dawson told City News Service.

Councilman Mike Bonin, whose district includes Venice, where a large number of homeless people live, did not speak about the extension during the City Council meeting. But six months ago, he expressed frustration at the “essentially unenforceable” law while supporting its extension.

“This is just an incredibly frustrating and really stupid situation. It's through the looking glass. It's a policy designed by the Mad Hatter,” Bonin said at the time.

Bonin said problems with the law include the difficulty for police to prove that someone is living in a vehicle. He also said vehicle dwelling should be preferable to sleeping on the sidewalk -- which is legal to do overnight.

The City Council ignored the pleas six months ago of some homeless advocates who asked the city to allow the law to expire because they believed it unnecessarily criminalizes homelessness, and a few speakers repeated those pleas before this morning's vote.

Photo: Getty Images

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