LA Councilman Moves to Ban Homeless Encampments Near Libraries

Homeless encampments would be banned near city of Los Angeles libraries under a proposal Friday from Councilman Joe Buscaino.

The former mayoral candidate’s motion comes two days after the Los Angeles City Council took steps to ban homeless encampments within 500 feet of all schools and daycare facilities.

The city’s anti-camping law, which went into effect last year, already restricts sleeping and encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare facilities after each individual location is approved for enforcement by the City Council.

On Tuesday, the council voted 13-2 to have the city attorney prepare an ordinance amendment to prohibit sitting, lying, sleeping or storing personal property within 500 feet of “any school or daycare.” The amendment will need to be approved by the City Council before going into effect.

The city’s ordinance was approved last summer to modify the city’s previous anti-camping law in Municipal Code 41.18 to prohibit sitting, sleeping, lying, storing personal property or otherwise obstructing the public right of way in several areas of the city. Those areas include:

  • Within two feet of any fire hydrant or fire plug
  • Within five feet of any operational or utilizable entrance or exit
  • Within 10 feet of a loading dock or driveway
  • In a manner that interferes with any activity for which the city has issued a permit or restricts accessible passage as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Anywhere within a street, including bike paths

It also protected the public right-of-way within 500 feet of a sensitive facility, which includes schools, daycare facilities, parks and libraries, once the council passes a resolution to designate a specific area for enforcement, posts signage and gives notice of the date the ordinance will be enforced for the area.

The ordinance also prohibits encampments and sleeping within:

  • Up to 500 feet of a designated overpass, underpass, freeway ramp, tunnel, bridge, pedestrian bridge, subway, wash or spreading ground, railroad track or where lodging unsheltered or in tents is unhealthy, unsafe and incompatible with safe passage
  • Up to 1,000 feet of a facility opened after Jan. 1, 2018 that provides shelter, safe sleeping, safe parking or navigation centers for persons experiencing homelessness.

The ordinance also allows the city to prevent encampments for a period of no longer than one year in areas that are deemed an ongoing threat to public health or safety.