End Homelessness Now-LA is sending you an urgent request from our friends at Services Not Sweeps, urging EVERYONE to come to City Hall at 9:30am on July 27 and tell City Council that 41.18 is BAD POLICY and should be repealed.
Statement on City of LA’s Expansion of LAMC 41.18
The Los Angeles City Council is set to approve an amendment to LAMC 41.18 that will greatly expand the number of places where homelessness is criminalized. Our coalition agrees that reducing unsheltered homelessness is extremely important. This amendment to LAMC 41.18 is bad policy. It does not reduce unsheltered homelessness across the city. It will negatively impact the lives of the unhoused and reduce the effectiveness of homelessness services and resources, while trading in the false promise of “community safety.” Expansion of 41.18 is bad policy because:
- It expands banishment zones just as the City’s unsheltered population is set to increase. This expansion will add at least 1,900 additional sites–a 376% increase in exclusionary zones, just as the number of temporary housing units are being reduced as COVID hotel options are ending. Additionally, good policies that have protected tenants from evictions during the Pandemic are set to expire. Since
41.18 has been implemented, unhoused death rates have increased by 25%, evidence that putting “criminalization as another tool in our toolbox” has not addressed the risks of living unsheltered. Just as inﬂow to homelessness and unhoused deaths are increasing while housing options are decreasing, the City is drastically investing in a policy that does not address any of these factors.
- It will not decrease the number of encampments; it will only move them around. Criminalization actually makes it harder to solve homelessness. We already know what works to decrease encampments: consistent outreach; linking people to a path to permanent housing; and providing resources such as bathrooms, sharps containers, and trash service. This amendment will disrupt all of those strategies. The last amendment to 41.18 was passed with the expectation of a “street strategy” with outreach workers to offer resources and shelter before enforcement. This street strategy does not exist. Instead, people will just be displaced, disconnecting them from existing services and support, making it harder to exit of homelessness. Without housing or support people will just return or be pushed into residential neighborhoods or concentrated in areas, likely in lower income non-white communities.
- It promotes a false idea of community safety and will be impossible to enforce. The City does not have enough resources to enforce the 399 marked sites that exist now, yet, this ban will cover at least 88 sq. miles of Los Angeles (20% of the entire city). Enforcement will be complaint-driven or at LAPD’s will. The City will not post signs informing people where there are camping bans, so housed and unhoused residents won’t know where camping is prohibited. This will only escalate tensions between housed and unhoused neighbors and the LAPD, who, per their own data, disproportionately use force towards the unhoused. It may also banish encampments disproportionately across the city, likely favoring white home owners, who due to their privilege, are not hesitant to call the police.
- The City Council is set to approve the expansion without understanding the breadth of its impact. The city has not considered the number of sites that will be included or produced a map where houseless residents can go. Council members are also not aware of how 41.18 is enforced. At the June 23rd, Homelessness & Poverty subcommittee meeting, council member Blumenﬁeld revealed that he did not understand the current ordinance and incorrectly assumed that LAPD could not cite an unhoused person without giving them a chance to move or someplace else to go. The City Attorney’s ofﬁce clariﬁed that, “as requested by the City Council, a violation of 41.18 can in the ﬁrst instance be a citation or an infraction.”
Ultimately 41.18 expansion is more legislation negatively affecting unhoused people without meeting their needs as LA community members and residents. Further criminalization and withdrawal of available public space, often close to nearby support systems, targets the unhoused rather than the roots of homelessness.
Join the fight: Contact EHN-LA at 323-732-6416 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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