Protesters who said that the measure criminalizes homelessness interrupted the meeting in which the Los Angeles City Council agreed to ban homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and childcare facilities.
The council voted 11-3 to significantly expand an existing restriction on sitting, sleeping, and camping that presently only applies to childcare facilities and schools designated by the council. The vote occurred after an earlier vote failed to pass unanimously last month. It applies to public and private institutions. There will still be a final vote required next week.
According to authorities with the Los Angeles Unified School District, there are around 750 public school locations located inside the city limits of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reported that there are roughly 1,000 commercial day-care establishments that are registered with the city. The new academic year, which will begin on August 15th, is the first day of classes for most students.
Many cities, including Los Angeles, are scrambling to cope with an increase in homelessness that has resulted in enormous encampments along sidewalks and a growing sense of outrage among the general population.
Supporters of a blanket ban claim that homeless camps pose a health and safety risk to kids, mostly due to the presence of people suffering from drug addiction or mental illness.
Homeless groups and others opposed to the bill warned it would further criminalize homelessness.
The prohibition comes as a number of hotels prepare to discontinue their engagement in the government’s Project Roomkey, which compensated them to offer hundreds of rooms for the unsheltered.