LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles police will not be issuing citations for people sleeping in vehicles parked on residential streets — at least for now.
In a memo sent to officers, Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said the vehicle-dwelling ordinance that was extended for six months in December expired at the end of June. A proposal currently pending in city council would extend the ordinance until January of next year, but a vote has yet to be taken.
Los Angeles City Council is in the midst of its summer recess and is not expected to meet again until later this month, but representatives from Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s office said the council would be discussing the issue at its first meeting following the recess. O’Farrell chairs the council’s Homeless and Poverty Committee.
It was previously illegal to live in a vehicle in the city until a 2014 federal county ruling struck down the ban. The council responded by drafting city ordinances that would make it illegal to live in a vehicle in residential neighborhoods or near locations such as parks and schools. The council voted to extend the law by six months in June of last year, and again in December.
Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, said the expiration of the law could create dangerous situations for residents.
“This is very dangerous because the objective of this is to keep all kinds of vehicles off and away from schools and parks, where kids play, and off residents’ front curbs,” said Ryavec, who is also a community officer with the Venice Neighborhood Council. “That evaporated on July 1, and the police have no authority to cite or move anybody even though they may have status as a sex offender … or a felony conviction.”
Ryavec also said those who live in their vehicles unfairly take parking spots from residents.
But homeless advocates have long criticized the law, saying it criminalizes homelessness, and Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the Venice area where many homeless people congregate, has been critical of law in the past. In December, he said it can be difficult for police to prove someone is living in a vehicle. He also said that living in a vehicle should be preferable to sleeping on the sidewalk.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)