Joe Buscaino Seeks To Prohibit Homeless Camping At 11 LA Locations

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - City Councilman Joe Buscaino introduced a resolution today to prohibit encampments in 11 locations in his southwest Los Angeles district that are in close proximity to housing options and other resources for the homeless.

“The Los Angeles City Council and the mayor promised residents that if they accepted solutions to homelessness then the areas around these sites would be kept clean and free of encampments,'' Buscaino said in a statement before introducing the resolution, which was seconded by Councilman Paul Koretz.

“It should not have taken this long to fulfill that promise, but at least the Council is finally making progress toward balanced policies to keep our streets and sidewalks passable and safe,'' he continued.

Buscaino is the first council member to introduce such a resolution following the council's recent approval of a sweeping ordinance that modifies the city's current anti-camping law.

Starting Sept. 3, the ordinance will prohibit sitting, sleeping, lying, storing personal property or otherwise obstructing the public right of way in several areas of the city, including within two feet of any fire hydrant or fire plug; within five feet of any operational or utilizable entrance or exit; within 10 feet of a loading dock or driveway; in a manner that interferes with any activity for which the city has issued a permit or restricts accessible passage as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act; or anywhere within a street, including bike paths.

The ordinance also allows restricting encampments in the following areas, once City Council passes a resolution like Buscaino's, posts signage and gives notice of the date that the ordinance will be enforced for the area:

-- within 500 feet of a “sensitive'' facility (including schools, day care facilities, parks and libraries) once the council passes a resolution to designate a specific area for enforcement, posts signage and gives notice of the date that the ordinance will be enforced for the area.

-- up to 500 feet of a designated overpass, underpass, freeway ramp, tunnel, bridge, pedestrian bridge, subway, wash or spreading ground, railroad track or where lodging unsheltered or in tents is unhealthy, unsafe and incompatible with safe passage; and

-- up to 1,000 feet of a facility opened after Jan. 1, 2018 that provides shelter, safe sleeping, safe parking or navigation centers for persons experiencing homelessness.

The mayor signed the ordinance on July 29, a day after the City Council voted 13-2 to approve the new law.

The ordinance will also allow the city to prevent encampments for a period of no longer than one year in areas that are deemed an ongoing threat to public health or safety, including due to:

-- death or serious bodily injury of any person at the location due to a hazardous condition;

-- repeated serious or violent crimes or threats of serious or violent crimes, including human trafficking; and

-- fires at the location.

People who violate the ordinance will face an infraction or citation, but “a person who willfully resists, delays or obstructs a city employee from enforcing this section or who willfully refuses to comply after being requested to do so by an authorized city employee'' can face higher fines and a misdemeanor charge, according to the ordinance.

Councilman Mike Bonin and Councilwoman Nithya Raman voted against the ordinance.

Bonin cited the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority's statistic that the city only has shelter beds for 39% of the unhoused population.

“What about the other 61%?'' Bonin asked.

The locations mentioned in Buscaino's resolution are:

-- 2316 Imperial Hwy.

-- 122 W. Eighth St.

-- 525 N. Beacon St.

-- 828 Eubank Ave.

-- 215 S. Gaffey St.

-- 2175 John S. Gibson Blvd.

-- 525 S Harbor Blvd.

-- 19600 Hamilton Ave.

-- 711 S. Beacon St.

-- 1221 Figueroa Pl.

-- 18606 Normandie Ave.

If passed, people would be prohibited from camping in the area following 14 days of outreach to residents of encampments currently there.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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