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After Contentious Meeting, LA City Council Delays Vote On Anti-Camping Law

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Homeless encampments on Skid Row, photographed on June 30, 2019 in Los Angeles. (James Bernal for KPCC/LAist)
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The Los Angeles City Council was due to vote today on whether to amend local laws to effectively ban homeless encampments in certain parts of L.A.

But after a long and contentious meeting, it instead decided to push the motion until November 24, with Council President Nury Martinez saying she wants council members to come up with "real solutions" during that time.

Supporters of the controversial motion say it will help get homeless people off the streets and into shelters, while opponents say the changes will criminalize homelessness.

Last week, council members Bob Blumenfield, Joe Buscaino and others introduced a motion instructing the City Attorney to amend two city laws, L.A. Municipal Codes 41.18 and 56.11.

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Those laws prohibit camping and having “bulky” items in public places, but recent court rulings prevent the city from enforcing anti-camping laws without having adequate shelter beds available.

The proposed changes would allow the city to ban sitting, sleeping or lying down within 500 feet of freeways, freeway ramps, tunnels and certain homeless services facilities opened after January 1, 2018. They would also allow a ban on storing personal property in any of those areas.

The motion faced harsh public comment from homeless advocates during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

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