The Culver City Council has approved a ban on camping on city streets, though it won’t go into effect immediately, as some details need to be worked out.
The 3-2 vote on the camping ban follows the declaration of a local emergency concerning the homelessness crisis earlier this year.
City Councilman Dan O’Brien, who says the new law will effectively ban camping on sidewalks and streets, believes the way the unhoused are treated is inhumane. He also doesn’t believe Culver City has exactly the same issues as L.A.
“We don’t have the challenges that L.A. has. We do have a homeless crisis here,” said O’Brien.
Now officials are trying to find a way to clean up the streets without criminalizing those experiencing homelessness.
“Culver City has about 40,000 residents. Last year’s official Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority total homeless count of 350 individuals included 140 people sheltering on concrete, in tents and makeshift shelters,” O’Brien said.
One of those living on the street is Robert Butler, who is fighting fentanyl addiction.
“Just kind of waiting on a timeline on whether or not I can get into housing and get off the streets,” he told KTLA.
Butler said that having a place to safely lay his head would make a big difference.
“That tent right there, it doesn’t lock,” he added.
According to O’Brien, the homelessness crisis prompted some 1,200 emergency calls for help last year and that six unhoused people died on the streets.
The camping ban won’t go into effect until alternatives, such as Project Roomkey and housing at local motels, are made available by the city. In addition, there will be a designated camping site at the Virginia Parking Lot.
Councilman Freddy Puza voted against the ordinance, calling it a band-aid solution.
“The anti-camping ordinance doesn’t allocate additional funding for service, nor does it prioritize housing production. To be clear, we do not need an anti-camping ordinance to immediately start helping people,” he said.
Tonight, city leaders in Santa Monica are meeting to discuss a possible state of emergency on homelessness as well.