Los Angeles City Council approves measure on homeless camps

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The Los Angeles City Council approved a measure Tuesday to make it easier to dismantle homeless encampments around the city. (KABC)

The Los Angeles City Council approved a measure Tuesday to make it easier to dismantle homeless encampments around the city.

After a brief discussion, councilmembers voted 12-1 to approve the change, which allows city crews to remove large items from city sidewalks as long as the owners are given 24 hour notice. Items must also be stored for 90 days.

"This is really an effort by the council and the city to get a handle on the number of encampments that have sprouted up throughout the city," said City Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents downtown Los Angeles, which includes the largest concentration of homeless people in the city.

"If anybody has a tent up at night, it will require people to not have them up during the day when they're blocking the public right of way," Huizar added.

Demonstrators protested inside City Hall in an attempt to disrupt Tuesday's meeting and stop the council from voting in favor of the change.

"Rather than creating new laws to criminalize people for simply being poor, why not focus on housing?" asked Skid Row resident Suzette Shaw at a morning news conference.

"We argue that there are already laws on the books and no need to continue the criminalization and the dehumanization of poor people in the city of Los Angeles," said Pete White with the Los Angeles Community Action Network.

Previous attempts to crack down on homeless encampments have been met with lawsuits, preventing the city from taking action.

Huizar says the approved change addresses those concerns. He adds that the ordinance will go into effect in downtown Los Angeles in a matter of weeks and the rest of the city by the end of the year.
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