City Controller Launches Review of Homeless Encampment Policies

Posted on January 24, 2017

Galperin Cites Need to Assess How City is Meeting the Needs of Cleanliness and Safety of Our Vulnerable Population

Los Angeles - Coinciding with this week’s 2017 L.A. Homeless Count, Controller Ron Galperin is launching a review of City homeless tent and encampment policies -- along with an assessment of related outreach, cleanup and assistance efforts.

“As the City prepares to embark on its annual Homeless Count, we must evaluate if we are doing everything we can to be responsive to the plight of our homeless as well as balancing the need for L.A.’s public spaces to be safe, sanitary, and accessible for all,” said Galperin. “The status quo is an injustice and a disservice to the health, safety and quality of life of our homeless -- and of all Angelenos.”

Last year, the City amended its Municipal Code Section (LAMC 56.11), which regulates how personal property is disposed, left or stored in public areas.  In April of 2016, the City’s Bureau of Sanitation adopted 41 pages of “Standard Operating Protocols” to carry out the Municipal Code changes on public property, such as sidewalks and parks. These protocols also call, among other things, for outreach to homeless individuals to be conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and other social service providers.

The Controller’s review will focus on how well these Operating Protocols are currently working -- and it will seek to measure the success of these protocols by evaluating best practices, the respective roles of various City departments, adherence to the stated goals and objectives of the program, the sufficiency of resources available, and if the program is meeting the City's guiding principles for its overall homeless strategy.

“Regrettably, since adoption of the revised strategies, codes and protocols, the proliferation of personal property and encampments have gotten worse -- not better,” said Galperin. “The intent of adopting a more sensible and streamlined 56.11 was to see enhanced cleanliness, public safety and to better meet the needs of the homeless through appropriate outreach efforts. I haven’t seen any of these actually occur.”

The 2016 Los Angeles Homeless Count indicated that home­less­ness rose 11% in the City and 5.7% in the County of Los Angeles.  Mandated by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and coordinated locally by LAHSA, the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count is the largest homeless census count in the nation. Over the course of three days and nights, thousands of trained volunteers organize across L.A. to determine the number of homeless individuals and families living in the region. This year’s annual Homeless Count in Los Angeles begins on January 24, 2017.

Controller Galperin this month also released an audit of LA's affordable housing and Density Bonus Program. The Controller highlighted the need for additional affordable housing and advocated for additional incentives to encourage private developments to provide more affordable units in their mixed- use housing projects.

The Controller’s audits, reports, open data and more, are available atwww.lacontroller.org.

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