LA City Council passes new measure on homeless living in cars

The Los Angeles City Council gave tentative approval Wednesday to a ban of living in cars in residential areas and near parks and daycare facilities.

The ordinance would still theoretically allow people who live in their cars to park their vehicles in commercial and industrial zones.

Just outside LAX, there are blocks and blocks of tents, encampments and mobile homes. Anthony Lucero is a homeless veteran living on the streets with his step-son.

"I don't know where else to go... We were in a shelter but too much anxiety, overcrowded and I had something stolen," he said.

Lucero prefers to live in the homeless encampment area, like so many others who feel safer inside their vehicle. However, the growing spread of these encampments bring unwanted activity to neighborhoods they inhabit.

"There were a lot of mobile homes coming in and out. A lot of drug activity in the area, especially at night, and police searching all the time," nearby resident Leonardo Hosken said.

The new measure amends the city's current ban, allowing people to park in commercial areas or designated city lots between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. But many homeless advocates say this doesn't make life safer for those living in their vehicles.

"There's a significant increase in homeless women, and most of them are escaping violence and domestic abuse," advocate Jo Jo Smith said. "Now you want to put them in isolated, industrial areas? What are you thinking?"

"There are a lot of working homeless that live in their cars for obvious reasons. Cost of living is insane," another advocate told city council.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin said this may not solve the problem, but it is a step toward decriminalizing homelessness.

"A yes vote on this for the first time says that there are places where you cannot be and places you can be," Bonin said. "That's exactly, exactly what people have been clamoring for for a decade."

A member of parking enforcement who patrols the area declined to go on camera, but told FOX 11 that they typically turn a blind eye to encampments like the one by LAX because in his words, "Even if I did ticket them, they couldn't pay it anyway."

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