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Culver City Takes Action to Remove Tent Encampments – Opponents Claim Ban “Criminalizes” Homelessness

Culver City, California is taking action to remove tent encampments from public spaces.[0] On Tuesday, the city council approved a ban on tent encampments in a three to two vote. However, the ban will not go into effect until the city can come up with a plan to help those impacted by the ban, including housing through Project Room Key and local motels as well as setting up a designated camping site at the Virginia Parking Lot.[1]

The decision came with the election of Traci Park as the new council member for the 11th District.[2] Park, who has been working with Mayor Karen Bass on the mayor's Inside Safe program to move residents of encampments indoors, said her office “has the beds” for those who will be impacted by the law.[2] She also stressed that the ordinance is “not a solution to homelessness” but rather a “matter of public safety.”[2]

However, not everyone agrees with the proposed ordinance. Critics have claimed that the law “criminalizes” homelessness and disconnects people from services. Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky expressed her concern saying, “It’s not clear that we’re making credible offers of housing and services as we apply it across our 15 districts. It needs to be part of a coordinated engagement strategy.”[2] Yaroslavsky has introduced a motion calling for reports on the effectiveness of the ordinance and its impact on the homeless population in LA.[3]

Under the proposed ordinance, homeless people will be allowed to have sleeping bags and blankets, but tents or structures will be banned.[4] Advocates of the proposed ordinance argued that it would offer aid to the homeless, however, detractors voiced their opinion that it would be unacceptable to criminalize individuals who are living on the streets.

0. “Culver City's big move toward sanity. | KABC-AM” KABC, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.kabc.com/2023/02/15/culver-citys-big-move-toward-sanity/

1. “Controversy over Culver City's proposed ban on homeless camping heats up as city's expected to vote ‘yes'” KABC-TV, 14 Feb. 2023, https://abc7.com/culver-city-los-angeles-county-california-homeless-camping/12812189

2. “Los Angeles to Enforce Anti-Camping Law in Westside” The Epoch Times, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.theepochtimes.com/los-angeles-to-enforce-anti-camping-law-in-westside_5064194.html

3. “LA City Council votes to impose anti-camping law in Westside” 2UrbanGirls, 15 Feb. 2023, https://2urbangirls.com/2023/02/la-city-council-votes-to-impose-anti-camping-law-in-westside/

4. “Culver City, California considers criminalizing homelessness” Boing Boing, 14 Feb. 2023, https://boingboing.net/2023/02/14/culver-city-california-considers-criminalizing-homelessness.html