Saturday, June 21, 2014

Appeals court panel ends L.A. ban on homeless living in vehicles--Los Angeles Times

Appeals court panel ends L.A. ban on homeless living in vehicles--Los Angeles Times

"A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided unanimously Thursday that a city ordinance prohibiting people from living in vehicles was unconstitutionally vague. That ruling followed a 9th Circuit decision in 2012 that prevented Los Angeles from confiscating and destroying possessions that homeless people leave temporarily on sidewalks. Both ordinances had been enforced, along with other policies, to help the city cope with a homeless population now estimated at 36,000 to 54,000...Unlike cities that bar overnight parking or sleeping in vehicles, Los Angeles prohibited people from using a vehicle parked on a city street or in a parking lot owned by the city or the county Department of Beaches and Harbors as "living quarters" — both overnight and "day-by-day, or otherwise." The 9th Circuit said the law failed to define "living quarters" or specify what "otherwise" meant."


Where does LA think the homeless should live?  I think the answer is "somewhere else." The NIMBY mentality is especially repellent when it comes to homelessness, because public policies have a lot to do with homelessness.  The three main causes of homelessness are lack of affordable housing, unemployment, and poverty.  All of these are directly influenced by public policies. Local governments are more concerned about their property tax base than about making sure there is a range of affordable housing. There are few options for people with low income who experience that one last misfortune and end up out on the street.  Often they have no place to sleep except in a car.

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