Los Angeles’ new ordinance on living in cars was billed as a boon to homeless people, making it legal for the first time to park and sleep in half the city’s streets.
But with the measure set to kick in Feb. 6, a new map suggests the law could trigger a crackdown on some of the city’s 28,000 homeless people.
The map, which police will use to enforce the measure, shows only 10% of city streets cleared for car lodging. Other posted restrictions on overnight parking and oversized vehicles are not on the maps, but will be enforced.
One Venice block inadvertently marked safe is actually a canal, accessible by amphibious vehicle only.
“This isn’t a street. I’m not sure what it is,” city parking enforcement Officer Hector Chun said as he patrolled the neighborhood last week.
Many jurisdictions have moved against homeless people living in their cars in recent years, with 40% of 187 cities surveyed in 2016 by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty having adopted curbs. L.A.’s difficulty in finding places to put its occupied vehicles underscores its continuing failure to rein in its burgeoning homeless population as it heads into its annual homeless count, which begins Tuesday night.
Voters in November approved $1.2 billion to build 10,000 affordable and homeless units over the next decade, and the city is planning to build on city-owned lots and in converted nuisance motels. But for a second year, street encampments cling to neighborhoods from Los Feliz to North Hollywood. More than 6,600 vehicles countywide are occupied.
Earlier this month, Mayor Eric Garcetti scrapped his timetable for housing homeless veterans, saying 1,200 remain outdoors a year after the deadline he had set to bring them in.
“The city seems to be resting on its laurels passing a homeless housing bond, and meanwhile it has created not so much as another cot,” said retired UCLA law professor Gary Blasi, who has studied and litigated homeless issues for decades.
Garcetti’s press secretary, George Kivork, said the vehicle dwelling restrictions are a stopgap measure while the city develops a parking program for homeless people. Kivork added that the mayor knows current strategies will not solve the homelessness crisis overnight, but remains “committed to working to solve it as quickly as possible.”http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-homeless-rv-dwelling-20170113-story.html