The Los Angeles City Council voted 11-3 to ban homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers on Tuesday.
A vote last month on the ban was 10-1. A third and final vote is required next week to confirm the new policy. The council meeting was paused for more than an hour so police could clear pro-homeless protesters from the room.
The policy broadens a current ban on sitting, sleeping, and camping near certain sites specified by the council.
The change was backed by Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who made a surprise in-person appearance at a council meeting at the end of May to argue for the ban.
School district officials told the Los Angeles Times that roughly 750 public schools are within city limits, a figure that doesn’t include parochial and private schools. Almost 1,000 commercial daycare centers operate within the city.
Councilman Mike Bonin predicted that the changes, which he voted against, would cause a huge spike in the number of sites where homeless camps were banned, from more than 200 to around 2,000. The city’s documents did not provide a specific number of sites affected by the ban.
Council Joe Buscaino voted for the restrictions and noted that while he supported other initiatives for the homeless, such as tiny homes and housing them in hotels, he did not want “drug dens near our schools, parks or anywhere children congregate,” as quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
It remains to be seen whether or not the new ordinance can be enforced.
“So it’s just all a show. They’re putting on a little show because they can’t enforce it. Because there’s tents and encampments in MacArthur Park, downtown, the Valley, Hollywood … They won’t be able to enforce it,” Pro-homeless advocate Ruben Garcia told Los Angeles Fox affiliate KTTV.