LA Mayor Eric Garcetti signs ordinance criminalizing homelessness following City Council vote in favor of it


The mayor of Los Angeles signed an ordinance Thursday making it unlawful for people to "sit, lie, sleep" or otherwise situate their belongings in the "public right of way" — a law that will almost exclusively disenfranchise the unhoused population of LA. 

According to the official action, Mayor Eric Garcetti had until August 9 to act. He signed a day after the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of the ordinance 13-2, as mentioned in a previous Insider article.

The ordinance goes into effect 30 days from signing, CBS LA reported. Garcetti did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

The ordinance restricts "sitting, lying, or sleeping or storing, using, maintaining, or placing personal property in the public right-of-way." The measure makes it illegal to sit, lie, sleep, or set up encampments within 500 feet from "sensitive use" properties, such as schools, parks, and libraries, and other areas such as "overpasses, underpasses, freeway ramps, tunnels, bridges, pedestrian bridges, subways, washes, spreading grounds, or active railways." 

The ordinance also makes it illegal to sit, lie, sleep, or set up encampments within 1,000 feet of or on a "street, sidewalk, or other public right-of-way."

LA residents and organizations have posted their grievances and opposition to the ordinance on Twitter, and have made plans to camp outside of Garcetti's house in protest

Mike Bonin, one of two city council members who voted against the ordinance, noted during the vote that the city only has enough shelter beds for 39% of the unhoused population.

"What about the other 61%?" Bonin asked.

Bonin shared his own story of being unhoused during the meeting. 

"Some of those nights I slept in the car, some of those nights, when my car was in the shop, I slept on the beach. I cannot tell you how much turmoil is in your heart when the sun is setting and you don't know where to sleep," he said, according to Spectrum News. "I cannot tell you how demoralizing and dehumanizing and defeating that experience is when you don't know where you're going to sleep."

He said the ordinance tells people where they cannot sleep, but it doesn't tell them where they can sleep.

"That's what it comes down to for me ... where can people go, where can people sleep when they do not have an alternative," Bonin said.

Read more about the anti-homeless ordinance here.

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