LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — If you had no place to sleep at night, where would you go?
According to a landmark federal court ruling, people have a legal right to sleep on a city sidewalk if they are homeless and have no place to stay.
The Los Angeles City Council is now considering putting some restrictions on where someone with no place to call home could spend the night.
The proposal would restrict people from sleeping within 500 feet of schools, parks, daycare centers, homeless shelters, bicycle paths, tunnels, or bridges on school routes.
“I don’t see how it could be enforced,” said civil rights attorney Carol Sobel, who has spent nearly 20 years handling homeless issues.
Sobel says there are plenty of parks and shelters in the Skid Row area and if people are not allowed to sleep within 500 feet of any of them, they would have no place else to go.
“It pushes people off of Skid Row, then where do they go? We have 25,000 people during the day, we have 11,000 some odd at night. Where do they go?” said Sobel.
When it comes to the parks, Sobel said, “Most of the public toilets that people can use are in our parks, and if you tell people they can’t be within 500 feet of a park where do they go during the day to use that toilet? It’s a counterproductive proposal.”
City councilmember Mitch O’Farrell says it’s important for the city to strike the right balance and make sure that the needs of the homeless are taken care of while public spaces stay safe and accessible.