Los Angeles imposes sweeping ban on homeless camps near schools

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Los Angeles — The Los Angeles City Council voted during a meeting Tuesday to ban homeless camps within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers, which were disrupted by protesters who said it criminalized homelessness.

The council voted 11-3 to broadly expand the current ban on sitting, sleeping or camping, which currently only applies to council-designated daycare centers and schools. The vote, which applies to public and private schools, came last month after the previous vote failed to pass unanimously.

After dozens of people unrolled, at one point “Stop it!”

A second and final vote will still be needed next week.

About 750 public school sites are within city limits, Los Angeles Unified School District officials told the Los Angeles Times, adding that about 1,000 commercial day-care businesses are registered with the city. The next public school year begins on August 15.

Los Angeles is one of several cities struggling to cope with a rise in homelessness and large camps scattered along sidewalks that have sparked public outcry.

Supporters of blanket ban said that the homeless camp is a Health and a safety hazard to school children, especially those with drug addiction or mental illness due to the disruptive presence.

Martha Alvarez, in charge of government relations for the school district, told the council that the camps are “unsafe and painful for students, families and staff as they enter school campuses.”

Opponents, including homeless advocates, said the measure would further criminalize the homeless.

The ban comes as several hotels are set to end their participation in the government’s Project Roomkey, which paid them to provide hundreds of shelters to the homeless.

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