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Housing and Homelessness

Anti-Camping Ordinance Allows Officials To Clear Encampments After Shelter Offer Is Made

A homeless encampment is shown. Several shabby blue, gray and white tents abut a structure overhung with a tarp, all of which is set up on a sidewalk in front of a chain link fence.
The homeless encampment on Rose Avenue along the Penmar golf course in Venice.
(Chava Sanchez
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A new anti-camping ordinance went into effect Friday, allowing the city of Los Angeles to clear homeless encampments from certain areas. Officials may only clear the encampments after an offer of shelter is made.

L.A. City Councilmembers determine which areas to target for clearing through resolutions. They may aim for areas near parks, schools, or transportation infrastructure, or areas that they believe pose threats to public health and safety.

L.A. Daily News reporter Liz Chou told our newsroom's AirTalk program that the ordinance gives the city officials a lot of latitude.

“There are limitations, but those … categories could potentially cover a lot of areas,” she said.

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Chou added that Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas is attempting to include an outreach strategy with the ordinance, in order to get unhoused people into shelter before any enforcement.

“It's outside the law itself, but the goal is to get that into place, not just for this law, but also for any other efforts around the city to clear encampments,” she said.

A joint statement was issued by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, the City Council and the L.A. Police Department noting that enforcement will not start until the outreach strategy is in place.