LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A law which prohibits homeless people from sleeping in their cars in Los Angeles residential areas was extended for another six months during a contentious L.A. City Council meeting Tuesday.
The L.A. City Council unanimously approved the extension of an ordinance which prevents people from sleeping in their cars on any residential street between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., or within 500 feet of a school, park, preschool or daycare.
The approval was met with chants of “Shame on you,” from angry protesters. One person was taken into custody for disrupting the proceeding, but was released a short time later.
“Well, we need to have some order in our city,” L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino told CBS2 following the vote. “I feel that it’s just, and the fact that you can’t live in a car in a residential area, we have to keep in mind that there are property owners that are freaking out when you have people living in their cars in front of their home.”
The most recent 6-month extension to the law expired on July 1. The city council was unable to pass an extension before its July recess, which meant transients living out of their cars have had a temporary grace period since then.
The new six-month extension will run through Jan. 1, 2020.
It was illegal for decades to live in a vehicle in the city until a 2014 federal court ruling struck down the ban. The council responded by drafting the law that made it illegal to live in a vehicle in certain areas. The council extended the law by six months in June 2018, then voted again in December 2018 to extend it for another six months.
The homeless crisis has jumped in the L.A. area, with thousands of people being driven into homelessness by rising property and rent prices. Nearly 59,000 people were living on L.A. County’s streets, according to the Greater L.A. Homeless Count conducted earlier this year, an increase of 12 percent over 2018.
Earlier this month, homeless advocates filed a federal lawsuit against the city over what they claim is the unlawful seizure and destruction of property belonging to homeless people during sweeps.
Last year, the city launched the Safe Parking LA program for the estimated 15,000 people who sleep in their cars overnight. The program provides a safe lot for people to park with a security guard and a restroom. For more information, click here.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)