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Los Angeles cracks down on homeless tent cities: City Council to ban camping near schools and parks - and people can't take over sidewalks - as new pictures reveal scale of the crisis

 Los Angeles is cracking down on its sprawling homeless encampments with a new ordinance banning camping under freeways, parks or near schools, and can't take over sidewalks.

The motion, which was passed by 12 votes to three by Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday and faces another vote on Thursday before it can come into effect, would also seek to ban tents from blocking sidewalks. 

It aims to allow regular LA citizens to reclaim their city which has been taken over by the tent cities during the past five years when homelessness has doubled to around 15,000.

Pictures taken on Wednesday show rows of tents lining the Ocean Front Walk down Venice Beach as homeless encampments have become a common sight across the city. 

As well as tents being pitched up, homeless people were also seen sleeping on mattresses sprawled across the sand ahead of the new measures, which has been billed as a humane approach to get people off the streets.

The encampments on the famed Venice Beach have only grown amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with signs posted on trees warning of a July 2 clearance of all homeless encampments ahead of the July 4th weekend.

Los Angeles is cracking down on its homeless encampments with a new ordinance banning camping under freeways, parks or near schools, and can't take over sidewalks. Pictured: Encampments on Venice Beach's Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday

Los Angeles is cracking down on its homeless encampments with a new ordinance banning camping under freeways, parks or near schools, and can't take over sidewalks. Pictured: Encampments on Venice Beach's Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday

Amid preparations for the crackdown, pictures also showed officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arresting a man, who is believed to be homeless, along the Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday

Amid preparations for the crackdown, pictures also showed officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arresting a man, who is believed to be homeless, along the Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday

Pictures taken on Wednesday show rows of tents lining the Ocean Front Walk down Venice Beach as homeless encampments have become a common sight across the city

Pictures taken on Wednesday show rows of tents lining the Ocean Front Walk down Venice Beach as homeless encampments have become a common sight across the city

The motion, which was passed by 12 votes to three by Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday and faces another vote on Thursday, would seek to ban tents from blocking sidewalks. Pictured: Encampment on Venice Beach on Wednesday

The motion, which was passed by 12 votes to three by Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday and faces another vote on Thursday, would seek to ban tents from blocking sidewalks. Pictured: Encampment on Venice Beach on Wednesday

The homeless encampments on the famed Venice Beach (pictured) have only grown amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

The homeless encampments on the famed Venice Beach (pictured) have only grown amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

Amid preparations for the crackdown, pictures also showed officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arresting a man, who is believed to be homeless, along the Ocean Front Walk on Wednesday. 

The details of the arrest, which came ahead of the vote to pass the ordinance on Thursday, are not yet known. MailOnline has contacted the LAPD for comment.

Council members voted Tuesday to instruct the city attorney to draft an ordinance that is expected to face another vote on Thursday. 


If the measure doesn't receive unanimous approval on Thursday, it will face a second vote later in July before it can take effect. 

'(Residents) want to be able to use their parks and their sidewalks and their libraries,' Councilman Paul Krekorian, who coauthored the proposal, told the LA Times.

'They want to be able to go into the entrance of their business. They want to be able to know that when they pull into a parking lot, they don't have to worry about running someone over when they're going through the driveway.' 

If the measure doesn't receive unanimous approval on Thursday, it will face a second vote later in July before it can take effect. Pictured: A man sweeps the pathway in front of a homeless encampment at Venice Beach on Wednesday

If the measure doesn't receive unanimous approval on Thursday, it will face a second vote later in July before it can take effect. Pictured: A man sweeps the pathway in front of a homeless encampment at Venice Beach on Wednesday

Signs have been posted on trees on Venice Beach warning of a July 2 clearance of all homeless encampments ahead of the July 4th weekend

Signs have been posted on trees on Venice Beach warning of a July 2 clearance of all homeless encampments ahead of the July 4th weekend

As well as tents being pitched up, homeless people were also seen sleeping on mattresses sprawled across the sand ahead of the new measures, which has been billed as a humane approach to get people off the streets

As well as tents being pitched up, homeless people were also seen sleeping on mattresses sprawled across the sand ahead of the new measures, which has been billed as a humane approach to get people off the streets

Los Angeles Police Department officers detain a homeless man along the Ocean Front Walk in Venice, California on June 30, where an initiative begins offering people in homeless encampments a voluntary path to permanent housing

Los Angeles Police Department officers detain a homeless man along the Ocean Front Walk in Venice, California on June 30, where an initiative begins offering people in homeless encampments a voluntary path to permanent housing

However critics slammed the move as 'reckless', and demanded to know where the homeless people were expected to go after they were moved on from their current camps. 

The measure would limit people from camping on sidewalks in ways that prevent wheelchairs users from traveling on them - a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. It will also prevent sleeping, lying or storing possessions near public areas such as schools, parks, libraries, freeways, and homeless shelters.

The ordinance before the City Council is billed as a humane approach to get people off streets and restore access to public spaces, and it wouldn't be enforced until someone has turned down an offer of shelter. 

It would severely limit the number of places where homeless encampments have been allowed to grow and become a common sight across the city. 

'There are right ways and wrong ways to disrupt the status quo and improve conditions on the street,' Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, coauthor of the measure, said in a statement. 

'I am governed by a fundamental position: Before the unhoused are restricted from occupying public space, they should be ... offered a suitable alternative for housing.' 

People rummage through items at a homeless encampment along the Ocean Front Walk in Venice, California, on Wednesday

People rummage through items at a homeless encampment along the Ocean Front Walk in Venice, California, on Wednesday

The measure severely limit the number of places where homeless encampments have been allowed to grow. Pictured: A man sleeps near tents at a Venice Beach homeless encampment on Wednesday

The measure severely limit the number of places where homeless encampments have been allowed to grow. Pictured: A man sleeps near tents at a Venice Beach homeless encampment on Wednesday

The new motion only bans camps in certain areas, and limits the involvement of law enforcement. Pictured: A man sleeps near tents at a Venice Beach homeless encampment on Wednesday

The new motion only bans camps in certain areas, and limits the involvement of law enforcement. Pictured: A man sleeps near tents at a Venice Beach homeless encampment on Wednesday

The ordinance is considered to be a more balanced approach than an unpopular motion, introduced by Councilmember Joe Buscaino in November. Pictured: A homeless encampment at Venice Beach on Wednesday

The ordinance is considered to be a more balanced approach than an unpopular motion, introduced by Councilmember Joe Buscaino in November. Pictured: A homeless encampment at Venice Beach on Wednesday

The ordinance is considered to be a more balanced approach than an unpopular motion, introduced by Councilmember Joe Buscaino in November, which suggested a city-wide ban on all homeless camps.

But an advocate for the homeless said the measure is loosely written to allow broad interpretation for enforcement and will make most of the city off-limits to people living on the street. 

'Draconian is definitely the correct word,' said Pete White of the LA Community Action Network. 'I think it´s impossible to comply.'

White said that an ordinance that limited where people could park RVs and sleep in cars overnight left little more than 5 per cent of streets available for parking.

Homelessness has become a crisis of 'epic proportions,' the measure says. It remains near the top of political agendas across the state. 

The new motion only bans camps in certain areas, and limits the involvement of law enforcement. It will also require a 14 day notice that camping is barred in a particular location and seek to have homeless people comply voluntarily. 

It will also require a 14 day notice that camping is barred in a particular location and seek to have homeless people comply voluntarily. Pictured: A homeless encampment at Venice Beach on Wednesday

It will also require a 14 day notice that camping is barred in a particular location and seek to have homeless people comply voluntarily. Pictured: A homeless encampment at Venice Beach on Wednesday

A cyclist rides past a tent for the homeless on Venice Beach in California, on Wednesday

A cyclist rides past a tent for the homeless on Venice Beach in California, on Wednesday

The substitute motion, co-introduced by Councilman Paul Krekorian, (pictured) is being looked at as a more humane alternative to an anti-camping ordinance proposed by Councilmember Joe Buscaino in November

The substitute motion, co-introduced by Councilman Paul Krekorian, (pictured) is being looked at as a more humane alternative to an anti-camping ordinance proposed by Councilmember Joe Buscaino in November

A homeless camp under the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. Freeways would be one of the areas camps are banned from under the ordinance

A homeless camp under the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. Freeways would be one of the areas camps are banned from under the ordinance 

L.A City Council districts include Hollywood, Venice, Echo Park, Sherman Oaks and Skid Row, one of the most famously troubled neighborhoods in all of America. 


Three council members-Mike Bonin, Nithya Raman and Joe Buscaino, who is running for L.A mayor- voted against the measure, saying they wanted a map to know where they city's 20,000 homeless would actually go.  

'This is not compassionate or progressive, it's reckless. In fact, some of the most progressive cities in the state of California have a form of anti-camping ordinance,' Buscaino said of the substitute motion.

'This is a law that impacts every resident of this city and right now. I feel like I'm making a decision on this law without the information I need to understand the impacts of this law,' Councilwoman Raman said.  

'If we don't have the 20,000 beds where are people left to go?' Councilman Bonin asked.

Councilman Ridley-Thomas said the city's homeless population needs public housing alternatives before they are restricted from occupying public property.  

Under the measure, officials will be instructed to develop a strategy that would include offering overnight shelter, interim housing or permanent housing to people who had been staying in areas where camping will be restricted, KTLA reported.  

Ridley-Thomas said the measure would ensure that city officials craft a 'street engagement strategy' within 30 days that would limit interactions between law enforcement and homeless people, except in cases when a major crime is being committed. 

'If we truly want to make a significant impact in addressing the moral crisis of our time that is homelessness, the solution does not lie in criminalizing our unhoused neighbors for occupying public spaces, it lies in scaling up sustainable solutions to transition Angelenos safely indoors, while also ensuring that our streets remain clean and accessible -and this first begins with a 'Right to Housing,'' Ridley-Thomas said in a written statement. 

A report released earlier this year by the University of California in Los Angeles found homeless rates had increased by 50% in five years.

It found the economic fallout of the pandemic has left many more low-income residents on the brink of housing insecurity.

Official figures suggest there are about 15,000 chronically homeless people in L.A. County.

When 'couch surfers' and others who bounce in and out of homelessness, are included, that figure balloons to 66,000.

Dan Flaming, president of the Economic Roundtable, has projected that figure will nearly double in the next four years.

'That would be catastrophic for us,' Flaming told ABC7 in January.

According to figures from the Los Angeles Police Department provided to the Venice Neighborhood Council, the violent robberies in the Venice Beach neighborhood are up 177% from last year.

The same period has also seen a 162% increase in cases of assault with a deadly weapon involving a homeless person.

'Violent and property crime have increased in neighborhoods surrounding these dangerous encampments, and yet we continue to delay action on this common-sense ordinance while the city literally burns around us,' Councilman Buscaino said. 

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