Why L.A.’s ban on homeless encampments near schools, day care has become heated election issue
LA – Los Angeles leaders have tried to find reason to keep families out of the neighborhood’s homeless encampments. But it got heated at its most recent meeting on Friday, when a group of parents who live near schools spoke in opposition to the Mayor’s ban on encampments in the area.
The proposal was put forward by Councilwoman Nury Martinez. The councilman has been one of L.A.’s outspoken advocates for housing opportunities in the city, including efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing, and to make it easier for people who have been displaced by the housing crisis to return to their neighborhoods.
The issue, Martinez said, is that there was evidence that homeless people were sleeping in and around the schools and childcare centers that they were supposed to serve.
“We were finding that people were coming down here and trespassing and squatting on our properties and our school turf,” Martinez said. “Parents were being hit with fines for trespassing. They weren’t allowed to camp in the parks. And these are the people we say are our kids’ teachers. These are our kids’ friends and neighbors. We’re the ones who’ve been displaced as a result of the housing crisis. They’ve had to leave because they can’t afford the rents, and to have the privilege of being able to make a living and make a roof over their heads. And for that we’ve lost them their jobs, we’ve taken them out of their homes and we’ve put them in a situation where they’ve had to resort to living in groups, which isn’t the right environment.”
There was a lot of anger at the meeting. Many parents said they were concerned that children were not safe in the area.
“We had a lot of parents at the meeting that were very disappointed and concerned about the safety of our children,” said one parent. “We are concerned about the safety and the security of our children. We heard the Mayor talking about the fact that people get arrested at our encampments and that our children are now