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Los Angeles OKs sweeping ban on homeless camps near schools

Los Angeles Homeless
Posted at 1:14 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 16:14:05-04

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a ban on homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers during a meeting that was disrupted by protesters who said it criminalizes homelessness.

The council voted 11-3 to expand an existing ban on sitting, sleeping or camping that currently only applies to daycare centers and schools specified by the council.

The meeting was recessed before the vote when dozens of demonstrators began shouting and police cleared the council chamber.

The 11-3 final vote, which applies to public and private schools, came after two previous votes, including one last week that was also interrupted by a protest. The measure must be signed by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti before it takes effect.

About 750 public school sites are within the city limits, Los Angeles Unified School District officials told the Los Angeles Times, which said nearly 1,000 commercial day-care businesses are registered with the city. The next public school year starts on Aug. 15.

Los Angeles is among many cities struggling to deal with a surge in homelessness and large encampments scattered along sidewalks that have sparked public outcry.

Supporters of the blanket ban said homeless camps are a health and safety threat to schoolchildren, especially because of the disruptive presence of people with drug addictions or mental illness.

Opponents, including homeless advocates, said the measure would further criminalize homelessness.

The ban comes as several hotels are set to end their involvement in the government’s Project Roomkey, which paid them to provide hundreds of rooms to unsheltered people.