LA homeless may be arrested for sleeping on street

Saturday, June 23, 2018
LA homeless may be arrested for sleeping on street
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After L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti told the L.A. Times that people may soon be arrested for sleeping on the street, the city's homeless population is questioning what to do.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For many who live in the dark corners of Los Angeles, sleeping in tents is a daily reality.

But earlier this week, Mayor Eric Garcetti told the L.A. Times that the city may start arresting people for spending the night on the sidewalk.

Many people living on one Hollywood street, including Vicki Dollar, are questioning the news.

"What are they going to do with us?" Dollar asked. "We ain't cattle. And even if we were, what pasture are we going to be in? I mean, where are we going to go?"

Eleven years ago, city leaders banned overnight sidewalk sleeping but reversed course when faced with pushback from advocates. According to the L.A. Times, Garcetti intends to enforce the law again now that the city has enough new housing to meet settlement requirements.

"They can't do that," homeless man Khayree Weaver said, "because there's going to be another riot."

The Rev. Andy Bales, CEO of the Union Rescue Mission, is alarmed by the mayor's suggestion.

"If we clear the tents now, I'm not sure where the people will go," Bales said. "I have no idea. Deeper into the wilderness? Deeper into the woods where they won't have services? Deeper into alleys and neighborhoods, peoples yards?"

According to Bales and contrary to the L.A. Times report, there are approximately 53,000 homeless people in L.A. but only around 13,000 beds across all the shelters.

"The mayor did tell the Times the city would only enforce the law if there was a place for the homeless to go, and would help those people relocate," Bales said. "But here on the street, there's not much faith in that plan."