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Random Lengths News: 'LA City Council Seeks New Law to Prevent Public Encampments '

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

A statement from Bryant Odega

Bryant Odega, Harbor Gateway

Wage Stagnation Needs to Be Addressed

The proposed legislation would make it illegal to be unhoused and to refuse an offer of shelter in Los Angeles. This legislation criminalizes homelessness, a strategy that wastes millions of city dollars that we, the taxpayers, pay.

Proposals like this promote the myth that people are homeless by choice, not the result of the city’s failure to expand available housing for those experiencing homelessness. Public officials have stated that there are not enough available beds to support Los Angeles’ unhoused populations. The L.A. City Council needs to prioritize building housing projects for all of the unhoused instead of criminalizing homelessness. The criminalization of homelessness, rather than solving this humanitarian crisis along with its root causes (ex: skyrocketing rent, insufficient public housing units) is one of the reasons I’m running for Los Angeles City Council District 15 in 2022. We need evidence-backed, community-centered solutions that prioritize care — not criminalization.

These ordinances constitute cruel and unusual punishment and violate basic human rights. Judges have ruled that enforcing the bans on sitting and sleeping in public violate the Eighth Amendment’s cruel and unusual punishment clause. Despite these rulings, Los Angeles continues to criminalize the homelessness crisis. This is counterproductive toward reducing homelessness.

  • Unhoused deaths represent 11% of all deaths in LA, despite representing only 1% of the overall L.A. population.

  • Unhoused deaths are twice as likely to be male and Black.

  • Unhoused people were over two times more likely to have died from accidental and preventable causes compared to housed populations.

Clearing encampments causes people to disperse throughout the community breaking connections with service providers. This increases infectious disease spread. So increased enforcement will lead to more unhoused deaths. Los Angeles is set to become the City with the highest homeless mortality rate.

For the above reasons, I strongly oppose the passage of Council file: 20-1376 and urge others to do the same.


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