A city in California recently voted to clear out and ban homeless encampment tents, as various tents have been put up all over city sidewalks.
Officials with Culver City voted three to two to bar tents and other structures. The change will go into effect when additional housing models for the homeless become available, including a designated homeless area in a parking lot and a Project Room Key site.
Culver City Councilman, Dan O’Brien, claimed officials with the city were needed to rapidly take action as Karen Bass, mayor of the neighboring City of Lost Angeles, pledged last year to provide housing for over 17,000 homeless people into housing in the first year using a mix of permanent and interim facilities.
“A fear of mine is if we don’t have all the tools in place to help our own unhoused and Lost Angeles already have the enforcement along our borders, then those who refuse to house will just cross the street into Culver City, and then further strain our resources,” said O’Brien.
The new ordinance, which has no set enforcement date, allows homeless people to remain on the streets using only blankets and sleeping bags. Culver City is one of the County of Los Angeles’ 88 cities.
The new Culver City law aims to get more people off the street. When the ordinance takes effect, residents can call the police on individuals who refuse to go to the city’s various housing options, according to Councilman O’Brien.
“The desire on our part is that this ordinance will help give them that little extra push to accept the housing and services that we are offering,” O’Brien told the Los Angeles Times.
Officials in opposition argued the ordinance would relocate the homeless who would prefer to live outside.
“I am very disappointed,” said Yasmin-Imani McMorrin, councilwoman. “I feel this is an incredibly harmful policy that doesn’t add anything other than punitive measures.”
While O’Brien wanted to stop the City of Los Angeles’ homeless population from moving into the neighborhood, some had already settled.
New ordinance will take effect when 100 beds are available through programs
The ordinance will take effect when around 100 beds are available through various city programs.
Los Angeles Mayor Bass declared a state of emergency less than 24 hours after assuming office and as the homelessness crisis continues to worsen.
“My mandate is to move Los Angeles in a new direction with an urgent and strategic approach to solving one of our city’s toughest challenges and creating a brighter future for every Angeleno,” the mayor added.
Bass plans to allocate funding to buy out apartments and motels and allocate funding for homeless veterans and individuals. She seeks to lease out whole buildings where the homeless would be housed.
The declaration, which is anticipated to last six months, will allow Mayor bass to take more aggressive actions to challenge executive actions to take on the crisis. However, the city council must sign off on it every 30 days.
There are about 100,000 unhouse people in California. Other areas of high concentration are located in Northern California, including San Francisco, where around 8,000 people live on the streets.
Homelessness is highly visible throughout California, with people living in cars and tents and sleeping outdoors under highway overpasses and on sidewalks.