LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) —The Los Angeles City Council is considering putting some new restrictions that would effectively limit where the homeless can 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.
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, a proponent of the new proposal, says it would empower police officers to make the homeless to move their tents and personal belongings off the sidewalks: “Clearly this is unacceptable. This is why we need to move on an ordinance that has some teeth. We have to show compassion to those individuals who are homeless but also we have to show compassion to the school children who are forced to walk into the street because the sidewalk’s blocked.”
Currently the law allows people to sleep on the sidewalk at night if there isn’t enough available housing in the area, but forces them to move on in the morning.
The prospect of adding new restrictions has led to a bitter debate across the city and even within the homeless population itself.
“To let everybody run rampant is ridiculous,” says a homeless woman named “Shadow.”
But others disagree. Christopher Jarrell lives at a homeless encampment in Harbor City because he can’t get a voucher for permanent housing. He’s worried about the new plan the Council is considering.
“More restrictions are not going to make it any easier,” he says, “I mean we have to go somewhere. ”