LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council today will consider pursuing options to allow people experiencing homelessness to store personal belongings on city-owned properties.
The motion, which was introduced by Councilwoman Nithya Raman, would direct the city administrative officer to identify parking lots, vacant parcels and other properties that can be used for a citywide network of small-scale shipping-container storage facilities for homeless people to use. The CAO would report back to the City Council within 60 days with a plan for funding and the establishment of five initial facilities at key locations in the city.
“A lack of storage options can create major obstacles for a person experiencing homelessness. The inability to secure or transport a large quantity of possessions can make it far more difficult to leave a tent or encampment -- creating obstacles to seeking work, making appointments to see case managers or moving elsewhere even if a location has become hazardous,'' states the motion, which was seconded by Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
“When people are connected to shelter, facilities limit the amount of belongings participants are allowed to bring in, often leaving people to choose between staying on the street so they can keep their possessions or sleeping in a bed while forfeiting items that will not fit in two suitcases, a common standard,'' the motion continues.
The motion calls for a focus on properties deemed unsuitable for providing permanent or interim housing. On Feb. 24, the council passed a motion introduced by Councilman Kevin de Leon as part of his “A Way Home'' initiative to have all city departments report on the feasibility of using land they own to create temporary or permanent homeless housing.
Raman notes in her motion that creating a storage network on city- owned properties could address the “public health issue for all Angelenos'' created by excess storage on sidewalks. She added that items that are improperly stored can create fire risk and that having possessions in the public right-of-way may pose dangers for pedestrians and people with disabilities.
“Pedestrians may be forced to enter busy streets to navigate around objects that have made a sidewalk impassable. As the city develops more proactive policies for engaging with street homelessness, creating and expanding storage options must be a central aspect of our solution.''
The motion cites two smaller-scale storage facilities operated by the city that have been successful: The Bin in downtown Los Angeles and Echo Park, which operate at nearly full capacity consistently, according to the motion. Raman said the Echo Park site should provide a model for the citywide network.
The council will consider the motion during its 10 a.m. meeting, which can be viewed at clerk.lacity.org/calendar.
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