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Homeless sweeps pending as LA City Council approves possession removal ordinances

A homeless encampment in downtown Los Angeles.
A homeless encampment in downtown Los Angeles.
Robin Kanouse/Flickr

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For the first time in a long time, the city of Los Angeles could see major homeless sweeps.

Two new ordinances passed at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, one for streets and sidewalks and the other for parks, will shorten the time homeless people have to clear out their belongings after being asked to move from 72 hours to 24. Authorities will be able to clear out larger items like mattresses, sofas, and large tents, without warning. A current court order allows the homeless to sleep on the streets from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., but they must take down their tents during the day.

The new laws will go into effect once the city clerk signs and publishes them. Council President Herb Wesson says the council will also be taking up amendments that would remove medications and personal documents from the list of things that authorities could confiscate and get rid of a criminal penalty for violations.

How effective will the new ordinances be at reducing the number of large homeless encampments in the city? Is 24 hours a fair amount of time to ask someone to clear out his or her belongings? If you disagree with the city’s solution to the problem, what would you propose as an alternative?


Carol Sobel, a civil rights attorney who has represented L.A.'s homeless in federal courts

Carol Schatz, president and CEO of the Central City Association